w ith a prefatory essay EM PED O CLES A N D T . S. E L IO T b y Marshall M cLuhan

Studies in the Hum anities N o. 15 Philosophy

T H E U N IV E R S IT Y O F ALABAM A PRESS University, Alabama

” copyright © 1975 by M a rsh a ll M cL u h a n A s so c ia t e s L im it e d isb n ISBN 0-8173-6625-3 (paper) 0-8173-6615-6 (cloth) L ibrary of Congress Catalog Card N um ber: 73-22720 All rights reserved M anufactured in the U nited States of America ./ C opyright © 1976 b y T he U n iv e r s it y o f A labam a P r e ss . Eliot. except as follows: “Empedocles and T . S.

P oetry Index 146 106 116 136 . Life and Legend 3. S. Contemporaries xvi 4. Sensation and K now ledge 6. Physics and M etaphysics 5.CONTENTS Em pedocles and T . Sources 1 7 22 40 73 2. Biology 92 7. Eliot (b y Marshall M cLuhan) vi Abbreviations of W o rk s Cited 1. Conversion 9. Cosmology 8.

It is w hen Alice has gone through the Looking-Glass that she encounters H u m p ty D um pty “w ith his legs crossed like a T urk. on the top of a high wall— such a narrow one that Alice quite w on­ dered how he could keep his balance.” A t once they plunge into the w orld of w ords and names and the magical transform ations in­ separable from language. means that Love. even as Empedocles does in the w ords of Dr. w hich vi . also destroys them. T h e nursery w orld of m yth and mutations was w here Empedocles first established a m ajor beach-head in the V ictorian age. whose ow n name. Lewis Carroll. and Strife. . w hich unites the elements in due proportion and produces such varied form s of life. the non-Euclidean geometer. H e is able to speak from both sides in the Looking-Glass at once. was a m ore suitable person than H er M ajesty’s Superintendant of Schools to bring Empedocles and the Sphairos to the British public.” repeated again and again . ELIOT Marshall McLuhan T h e vision of Empedocles m ay have made its entrée into English literature via Lewis Carroll rather than M atthew A rnold. in the image of H um pty D um pty (the Sphairos) rather than the haggard suicide of M ount A etna (Empedocles on A etna). T h e playful m athematician was better qualified than the V ictorian moralist to bring the space-time vision of Empedocles to English literature and to the rocking-horse w orld of the nursery. w hich involved him im m ortally in the acoustic w orld of song and resonance. S. . took the pen name of Lewis Carroll.EMPEDOCLES AND T. Carroll. Dodgson. Lambridis: His phrase “I shall speak a double tru th . is full of puns.

So. since. H um pty Dumpty. you might be any shape almost. W ith a name like yours.Empedocles and T .” It is quite fitting there­ fore. also makes a beginning in the form a­ tion of live creatures. th at Alice and H u m pty D um pty should discuss words. it is language it­ self that embodies and perform s the dance of being. S. . the cosmic egg.” “Must a name mean something?” Alice asked doubtfully. H u m p ty D um pty rig h tly says: “W ith a name like yours. w hich is salt. M ots D 'Heures Gousses Rames Luis d’Antin Van Rooten Read aloud. And salt as sign of life and preserva­ tion is put on the tongue of the infant in Catholic baptism when the name is given. “Of course it must. w ho said of it: “W hat the reader sees will n o t be w hat he hears. Eliot c r e a te s vii monsters and havoc.” Hum pty Dumpty said with a short laugh: m y name means the shape I am. these verses are transform ed into English. you m ight be any shape. as the very inform ing principle of cosmic action. Hence: “Double is the birth of mortal things and double their demise.” T here is another aspect to the doubleness of the traditional H um pty D um pty verses w hich emerges w hen they are given a phonetic translation into French: Un petit d’un petit S’étonne aux Halles Un petit d’un petit Ah! degrés fallent. almost. .” Carroll is having some rather profound fun. fo r Alice is the G reek sound for alas. Indolent qui ne sort cesse Indolent qui ne se mène Q ’importe un petit d’un petit Tout Gai de Requennes. b u t again destroys them before the Sphairos returns to wipe out all differences. . as in the whole of Finnegans W ake b y James Joyce. says: “I can explain all the poems that .

” Dr. and perhaps the reason is to be found in a single phrase of T. for they by them­ selves increased in stature. S. whose essay on “T radition and the Individual T alent” explains th at a traditional w riter will have the historical sense “ . they’ll all be with thee throughout thy life in high degree. but having only recently been introduced to Empedocles b y Dr. B. M any of their m ost memorable figures and images are central to the w ork of Empedocles.” H aving studied Eliot fo r decades. the historical sense com ­ pels a man to w rite not m erely w ith his ow n generation in his bones. Lambridis brings out this quality of the nourishm ent of the individual talent b y traditional or corporate awareness. Lambridis. Yeats and Ezra Pound and James Joyce had also studied Empedocles.viii Empedocles and T . Eliot ever w ere invented— and a good m any that haven’t been invented just yet. in the direction of each one’s nature. T . but it is Empedocles whose vision pervades T h e W aste Land and Four Quartets. having had long training at H arvard. I can say that m y sense of the bearings and significance not only of H om er bu t of the w o rk of Eliot and his contem poraries has been changed and deepened. considering them with good intent and selfless pure study. not only of the pastness of the past. b u t w ith a feeling that the w hole of the literature of Europe from H om er and w ithin it the whole of the literature of his own C ountry has a simultaneous existence and composes a simultaneous order. and thou wilt have acquired much else from them. S. in the thought of East and W est. . " the auditory imagination . and the historical sense involves a perception. . It w ould be quite easy to show how deeply W . b u t of its presence.S. H is devotion to the pre-Socratic philosophers is evident in his citation from them. Eliot. Eliot spent his life in philosophical as well as poetic en­ deavors.” T h e process to . S. Eliot was not alone in his recourse to Empedocles.” I This rem ark b y H u m p ty D um pty invites a look at the w ork of ? T . in Empedocles (page 85): But if thou adherest to these things steadfastly in thy strong mind. and in France and G erm any. Eliot.

w hen both G reek and N ew tonian “N atu re” can be seen as merely visual systems of classification. S. returning to the origin and bringing some­ thing back. invigorating every word: sinking to the most primi­ tive and forgotten. or not without meanings in the ordinary sense. and the new and the surprising. T h e visual separations and definitions. certainly. It is only now in the elec­ tric age. F reud’s breakthrough into the “unconscious” was a recognition that private consciousness was created b y the suppression of corporate awareness. T h e acoustic space created b y the simultaneous inform ation environm ent. the classi­ fier. seeking the beginning and the end.B. T he visual imagination had insulated the poets from m any of their traditional resources for several ages. Eliot ix which this phrase refers is central to all the great poets of the W est from Poe to Valéry. Yeats concludes his poem “Am ong School Children” w ith a meditation th at is not only typical of Yeats bu t Empedocles: O body swayed to music. the current. How can we know the dancer from the dance? Even m ore congenial to Empedocles is the Yeats idea of “T he Emotion of M ultitude” or universality: The Shakespearian drama gets the emotion of multitude out of the sub-plot which copies the main plot.E m p e d o c le s a n d T . related men and societies in a new w orld of reson­ ant interface. that the “N atu re” of Em ­ pedocles resumes its relevance. could no longer hold. penetrating far below the conscious levels of thought and feeling. W. The “auditory imagination” is a norm in Empedocles and is the reason w h y the m erely visual imagination of Aristotle. could not apprehend Empedocles. much as a shadow upon . of w ords and peoples alike. O brightening glance. and the trite. from the telegraph on. the most ancient and the most civilized mentality. Eliot trans­ ferred this awareness to language: W hat I call the “auditory imagination” is the feeling for syllable and rhythm. It works through meanings. and fuses the old and obliterated.

or in all but all. too. T h e reader of T h e W aste Land encounters a musical structure of Love and Strife celebrating life-in-death and death-in-life: April is the cruellest month. one hardly notices.” bu t the reader of Four Quartets will find a fulfilm ent of Empedocles’ cos­ m ology ever m ore satisfying. Eliot the wall copies one’s body in the firelight. shadow beyond shadow. Each of the four parts of this poem is assigned to celebrate one of the four elements: Burnt Norton (air) East Coker (earth) Dry Salvages (water) Little Gidding(fire) Each poem also celebrates a specific place. so subtly is the web woven. for. Lambridis cites the biological theory of Empedocles as “a prim itive forestalling of D arw in’s theory of evolution. Lear’s shadow is in Gloucester. and so doubly calling up before us the image of multitude. that the murder of Hamlet’s father and the sorrow of Hamlet are shadowed in the lives of Fortinbras and Ophelia and Laertes.Empedocles and T . It is the space-time of the particularized intersection of a space an d a time th at transform s and purifies: . mixing Memory and desire D r. breeding Lilacs out of the dead land. W e think of King Lear less as the history of one man and his sorrows than as the history of a whole evil time. If all time is eternally present All time is unredeemable. and the mind goes on imagining other shadows. A sense of universality is magically evoked b y this parallel w ithout connections: In Hamlet. till it has pictured the world. have been killed. whose fathers. S. It is so in all the plays. and very commonly the sub-plot is the main plot working itself out in more ordinary men and women. who also has ungrateful children.

the re-tracing of the labyrinth of perception is central to the mode of Empedocles: I shall now retrace my step and come back to my song’s begin­ ning. B ut the process itself manifests m ore of Strife than love. And so we moved. Thus. Be remembered. The trilling wire in the blood Sings below inveterate scars And reconciles forgotten wars. involved with past and future. “T he box circle” is a w itty arrest of the Sphairos betw een the com plementary modes of vegetation and w ooden artifact. . S. as in the first Q uartet Burnt N o rto n : Garlic and sapphires in the mud Clot the bedded axle-tree. East C oker: In my beginning is my end. and the meaning is revealed b y the replay or the retracing of an experi­ ence. T he arrested music of the Sphairos is caught again at the end of Burnt N o rto n : Only by the form. Eliot To be conscious is not to be in time But only in time can the moment in the rose-garden .Em pedodes and T . This is the opening of the second Q uartet. the re-cognition. between the outer garden and the inner theatre. . Four Quartets is “a series of images of m igration” b y which the circulating life of man is enclosed and held in place. xi Re-membering. into the box circle. This m otto of M ary Queen of Scots proclaims Love as the final cause or pattern. the pattern can words or music reach the stillness. in a formal pattern. Along the empty alley. re-structuring. as a Chinese jar still moves perpetually in its stillness . To look down into the empty pool. and they. History is made b y time as time is made b y meaning.

Both of these are spoken from the w orld of acoustic space in w hich there is no private identity. and then again. wrenched from each other. at other times out of one several things grow. at times one alone comes into being. and yet nobody could have had m ore em pathy fo r the non-visual w orld of the preliter­ ate. on one side. This is the way they become. Yet they sound paradoxical to a literate or visually oriented person. able to move easily across cultural boundaries b y resonant sym­ pathy. the . at other times being violently separated by Strife. one whole is formed out of many. and their life is not long their own. N obody could have been m ore literate than Eliot. by comparison w ith the intense literacy of the print-accustom ed man. But come. revealing the outer limits of my thought. T h e sayings of Heraclitus provide Four Quartets w ith themes relevant to both Christian and H indu thought. at other times they grow apart. For the coming together of all both causes their birth and destroys them. Lambridis presents on page 68 seem almost to have been embodied in Four Q uartets: I shall speak a double truth. nor any upside-down. Eliot Eliot has placed the sayings of Heraclitus at the beginning of Burnt N o rto n : A lthough the Law of Reason (logos) is common. Double is the birth of mortal things and double their demise. and separation nurtured in their being makes them fly apart. T h e ways upw ard and dow nw ard are the same. and the verses of Empedocles w hich Dr. the m ajority of people live as though they had an understanding (wisdom ) of their own. S. Empedocles and his contem poraries would have seemed to us to be men of oral rather than literate culture. recognizing that opposites are com plem entary aspects of the same thing.xii Empedocles and T . for knowledge makes the mind grow. listen to my words. These things never stop changing throughout. but in as far as they never stop changing throughout in so far they are always immobile in a circle. at times coming together through Amity in one whole. they make up many out of one. Probably. Thus. I shall tell a double truth: At times one alone grows out of many. As I said once before.

Lambridis says on page 86: Empedocles feels keenly that what he has to say about the higher level is inconceivable and almost impossible to express by the available linguistic means. . has elucidated the procedure in his brief essay on “T h e Em otion of M ultitude. away from them all.” This is a matter central to Eliot. or betw een the author and his medium (language). or sense of the universal in the particular. creates an unexpected involvem ent in the very m aking process itself. he is the only philosopher (pre. and I wish to declare once and for all . As far as I know. T h e means indicated b y Yeats for achieving the em otion of m ultitude are familiar to m odern students of Shakespeare under the head of “double plots.” T h e sudden en­ counter betw een the author and his readers.or post-Socratic) to have acknowledged him­ self baffled by the gap between what he has conceived and what it is possible to express adequately. who. . Fire and water and earth and the immeasurable height of air.” The gap was never m ore strikingly indicated than b y Baudelaire in his envoi: hypocrite lecteur mon semblable. . don’t sit there astounded by sight. is born of “a double tru th . . As Dr. m on frère. b ut it is also closely involved in the w ork of Yeats. Amity among them. S.Empedocles and T . . Amity is believed by men to be innate in their bones. as I have suggested. Eliot many out of the one. Look thou at her.” T his emotion. equal on all sides in length and breadth. and. the awful Strife all over. .” and these means w ere taught in antiquity as essen­ tial to the aitiological epic or the Epyllion. xiii Each of the Empedocles passages stresses “a double tru th .” somewhat in the mode of Quantum Mechanics w here the chemical bond is the result not of a connection but of a “resonant interval” such as must obtain betw een the wheel and the axle. or b y Dostoevsky in N o tes from U nderground: I write only for myself. (See M arjorie Crum p’s The Epyllion fro m Theocritus to O vid.) Paradoxically the sudden intrusion of Empedocles in the midst of his account of the cosmic process has exactly the effect that Yeats describes in “T h e Em otion of M ultitude.

. there is concern w ith the need and means fo r purification..” Eliot says in East C oker: T hat was a way of putting it— not very satisfactory: A periphras­ tic study in a worn-out poetical fashion. . in Empedocles there is no direct w ay to the higher levels: T he wise man must try to join the peaks of thought by many dif­ ferent ways. 87). Lambridis explains (p. and speech impelled us T o purify the dialect of the tribe And urge the mind to aftersight and foresight. S. . that is simply because it is easier for me to write only in that form. speech it­ self. H e must experiment in his mind . It is a form. paradoxically. and cried And heard another’s voice cry: ‘What! are you here?’ Knowing myself yet being someone other. In G erontion too there is a dramatic dissolution and retrieval of the four elements. I t is precisely this gap that has. . It is the common measure. N o t only is there the dram atic play betw een Eliot and Pound but betw een themselves and their medium: Since our concern was speech. as everyw here in Empedocles. an empty form— I shall never have readers.xiv Empedocles and T . as D r. . But the big m om ent comes in L ittle Gidding. . H ere. . he gives an eloquent inventory of “the gifts reserved for age” in a w ay that recalls his earlier G erontion. and mould the pieces together with ‘pure intent’. Eliot that if I write as though I were addressing readers. for. Im m ediately after the w ords quoted above from Eliot. he is a kind of Sphairos or H u m p ty D um pty “driven b y the Trades. afforded Eliot some of his m ost effective expression in Four Quartets. the agent of perception that is the prim e responsibility of the poets. the last quartet when E liot confronts il miglior fabbro as in another world: So I assumed a double part.” E very­ . W here Em pedo­ cles says self-deprecatingly: “I too talk like that b y force of usage.

S. Y. Lambridis calls the spirit­ ualization of the Sphairos: W ith great diffidence I venture to suggest that the conception of the spiritualisation of the Sphairos . too. S. N . Christ. may be due to a more re­ mote influence: that of Buddhism. W illiam son A Reader's Guide to T . that reminds us th at the agony of dying is necessary to rebirth. is a Sphairos in Four Quartets and “the ultim ate cure of rebirth de­ pends upon the w ounded surgeon.” (See Geo. 221) . p. N oonday Press. the Church. Eliot is concerned w ith w hat Dr. (p. 120) Eliot is deeply aware of this great current. . 1953. b u t also urges attention to the perversity of Adam. the “ruined millionaire.Empedocles and T . . w ho plies the steel and the dying nurse. Eliot. Eliot xv where.” Adam.

1874). B. Jacoby. E. ed. 1886) PF Plutarch. Voss. Leipzig. ed. 1916. Dionysius the Thracian. De Heraclides Pontici: vita et scriptis (Rostock. 1879. Leiden. sixth edition. C. Weidmann. Corpus Medicorum Graecorum. Miller (Paris. Empedocle (Turin. 1896). History of Philosophers. G. Berlin. Bignone. loannis Stobaeus (Berlin. C. revised by Walther Kranz. HE Herodotus NP A. De Anima _______ De Caelo _______ De Partibus Animalium _______ De Poetis (Fragmenta) _______ De Respiratione _______ De Sensu _______ De Generatione et Corruptione _______ Metaphysica _______ Meteorologica _______ Poetica _______ Rhetorica _______ Sophistici Elenchi E. Sitzungsberichte der Berliner Akademie der Wissenschaften (1929). Porphyrii Philosophi Platonici (Leipzig. ed. FH G Fragmenta Historicum Graecum. De Compositione Verborum. 192358 (Berlin. H . F. 1940-58). Diels. (Dublin/Zurich: W iede­ mann. Berlin. Berlin. Akademie Verlag (post-war). Dr. De Fortuna Alexandri P P _______ Pericles P O L _______ De facie in orbe lunae P Q C _______ Quaestiones Conviviales P Q R _______ Quaestiones Romanae VH O. Diogenes Laertius. Fragmente der Griechischen Historiker. Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker. Teubner (pre-war). 1952). 1908— . ed. Doxographi Graeci.A B B R E V IA T IO N S O F W O R K S C IT E D AA A C A P A A D P A D R A D S A G C A M P A M L A P A R A S E BE CMG CW DK Aristotle. reprinted 1963). 1884). Brill. H. Lambridis follows Diels in the numbering of the fragments. Wachsmuth. Nauck. XVI DL DCV DOX FG H . 1923-30. WS Wilamowitz. Diels. and tr. J.

Empedocles .


F o r instance. though unsurpassed in detailed know ledge of the Empedoclean fragments. It is almost entirely due to Empedocles’ poetic imagination and 1 . further. the professional philosophers have disregarded his poetry almost completely. H e is usually considered a “pluralist” along w ith Anaxagoras. with a few notable exceptions. Romain Rolland. moreover. a lengthy study b y E tto re Bignone.1. to give an intelligible form to some ad­ mittedly difficult and puzzling passages in his w ork. Certain men of letters inspired b y the p o etry of Em pedocles’ fragm ents (H öld­ erlin. can be called the greatest philosopherpoet of the ancient w orld. O n the other hand. THE SOURCES The standard books on the history of ancient G reek philosophy. to w hom he bears bu t a very remote resemblance. w ho com bined in­ tellectual excitement and passion w ith a high degree of intellectual effort. Empedocles is a very im portant philosopher who made an origi­ nal synthesis of the theories current in his time. is vitiated b y its intent to show that Empedocles was a m ystic from the outset. first published in 1916 and reprinted w ithout additions or amendments in 1963. deal w ith Em pedocles briefly and almost contem ptuously in a few pages. and who. I have tried to bridge these critical in­ adequacies and. and M atthew A rnold) w ere scarcely com ­ petent to deal w ith the philosophic content of his w ork. These tw o attributes— poetry and phil­ osophy— have fo r long been considered incompatible. Even those w ho have studied his theory of the “mixture” have almost always m isunderstood the stages of that mixture’s process.

and (fragm entary) De Poetis. Source material regarding Em pedocles’ life extends over more than eight hundred years. hedid not consider Empedocles an originator of any of them. so to say. covered the period when the Stoic and Epicurean schools of phil-i osophy w ere flourishing as well as the Cynics and the other oft .C. Diogenes Laertius is a pen name. these fragm ents am ount to one-tenth of his total w ork. De Caelo. his De Respiratione. It. This is more than has been preserved of the w ork of any other pre-Socratic philosopher. B. when w riting of other thinkers. Metaphysica. and es­ pecially in his treatise De Sensu. Poetica. albeit in fragments.D. Theophrastus. In the eighth book of his H istory. T heophrastus makes quite clear w hat it is that he is combating. A ccording to some scholars.. Diogenes Laertius. showing the ori-j gins and the succession of all schools of philosophic thought. Rhetorica. in his Meteorologica. according to others. Aristotle m entioned Empedocles in his De Anim a. N o t being a philosopher himself.). a tw isted version of the custom ary w ay of addressing Odysseus in H om er’s Odyssey : “Divine born son of Laertes. he devoted th irty chapters to Empedocles.” H e did a remarkable w ork of collation. w hich deals w ith the philosopher’s theory of sensation. not even his re al name. one-sixth. w rote a H istory of Philosophers in ten books. Sophistici Elenchi. N othing is know n about Diogenes Laertius himself. De Generatione et Corruptione. Practically all the ancient commentators included references to his w ork— chiefly in the form of passing allusions or derogatory remarks. of the Aristotelian school (4th-3rd cent. but though he provided a genealogical tree. he had no bias for or against one philosopher or another. in the 4th cen tu ry A. T o retu rn to the earlier commentators: T here was a consider-i able tim e gap betw een Theophrastus and the other scholiasts. al­ though he quoted his sources w ithout chapter or verse. H e also referred to Empedocles in other books of the H istory. A lthough inevitably influenced by Aristotle. A nother im portant source stems from the end of the eight hundred year period during w hich pre-Socratic philosophy w as thought w o rth y of time and trouble. is one of the most reliable sources of inform ation about Empedocles.2 force of expression that a considerable part of his w ork has been preserved.

D. Sextus Em piri­ cus was fundam entally a sceptic.. and reserve m ust also be extended to those w ho based themselves on Platonic or Aris­ totelian conceptions. as well as books on the N eoplatonic Proclus and others. consisting of the humanist studies of grammar. of the first century B. and dialectics. Aelianos (Claudius). Various w riters of the early Christian centuries used Alexander the Knowledgable. and some­ . w ho belonged to the Alexandrian branch of the Neoplatonic school of the fifth century A. F urther. of the second century A. and Hierocles.C. and w ho w rote a commentary on the G olden Sayings of Pythagoras (a book that was anything but authentic) and O n the M aking o f the W orld. H e did no t in fact at­ tack the mathematicians. and who w rote O n the Qualities o f Anim ate Beings and Varied H ist­ ory. The Christian theologian Philoponos (John) tried. es­ pecially those of the Christian converts. he did not believe in these mental disciplines and thought their proofs am ounted to very little. the fore­ runner of the medieval quadrivium. w ho w rote O n W h a t Philosophers Like and a Collection of Physical Opinions·. as a m ajor source of reference. rhetoric. logic. T his was a time w hen all w riters apparently thought themselves capable of authoritative opinions on all philo­ s o p h ic a l matters.W "' S o u rces 3 shoots of the Socratic teachings. T h eir statements m ust be taken w ith reserve. T h e title of his main work Adversus M athematicos is misleading. flourished during the middle of the second century B. Sextus Empiricus. and w hen those of a philosophi­ cal bent com m itted themselves to one or another of these schools of thought. one of the earliest com m entators. that is. like others before and after him. but the “mathem ata” .. nickname for the Sophist who lived probably in the first half of the third century A. It was only during the centuries immediately before and after Christ that com m entators and historians of philosophy began to m ultiply. the w riting of vies romancées of the ancient philosophers was in full swing b y the early Christian centuries. to find the root of the Christian religion in the disconnected sayings of the ancient philosophers.D. and of others definitely committed to specific schools of philosophy. The m ore factual w riters include Aëtius.D.C. H e seems to have been more positive than many.

and P o rp h y ry ’s passing references to pre-Socratic philosophers are serious and w o rth considering. P orphyry. another Neo-j platonist. All the Neoplatonists w ere far m ore interested in! . H e came from the! G reek mainland.D.. also w ro te a treatise titled O n Providence. greatly biassed b y his new ly acquired Christianity. H e is im portant upon his ow n subject. include his H istory o f A ll Sorts. a rich but unreliable source of information. belonged to the Athenian branch of the school.D. though. H e is biassed. of the fifth century« A. m uch about Empedocles. w ro te abundantly on the pre-Socratic philosophers.D. His com m entary on Plato’s Timaeus en­ deavored to show the inner connection of Plotinus w ith Plato. each containing nine treatises. H e left a great m any Epistles. H e lived to nearly 330 A. approxim ately 370-413 A.D . despite his mystical bias. w ho lived betw een (probably) 150 and 216 A. in total. besides organizing the w orks of his master in the famous Enneads. not disregarding the difficult questions arising from his subject.. One of his w orks is interestingly titled O n the Starting-points w hich lead. . Simplicius. he entitled one of his w orks O n Providence. Stromateis. several of the pagan Neoplatonists have left useful comments on Empedocles. C ontem porary w ith the early Christian scholiasts. as he had thoroughly studied the.. H e also w rote a H istory o f the Philosophers and a vie romancée of Pythagoras. from Phoenicia to T yre. Y et another Neoplatonist. supposedly 159. b y w hich year w e know from various sources that he was certainly dead. us to the Intelligible. T h e w ritings of Favorinus of the first half of the third century A.D. teaching of the Stoa. T he Neo­ platonist Iamblichus was one of the few w ho concerned himself w ith the problem s raised b y arithm etic. the immediate successor of Plo­ tinus. times touched on logical questions. and he had been influenced to some degree b y the.).4 Sources'. deals w ith several of the G reek philosophers and is m ore reliable than most. Like so m any others of his time (fifth century A .D. H is best-know n w ork. though rather superficially. Proclus. logical treatises of A ristotle and the Stoics. P o rp h y ry ’s life covered the last: three quarters of the third century A. Synesius.D. assembled collections of essays w ritten b y earlier philoso-i phers. H e wrote. It is probably he w ho coined the w ord anthology. W ith him must be ranged Clemens of Alexandria.

the historian Satyros. tw o m odern collections contain fragm entary bits of in­ formation on.Sources 5 the second w o rk of Empedocles. Finally. T h e im portant collection b y H . than in his first work. H e mentions Em ­ pedocles in m any of his w orks and w e are indebted to him fo r pre­ serving a sentence of Empedocles’ ow n about the moon. and about the soul shedding its wings. then an im portant intellectual center. the Theban (50-125 A . Both Neanthes and Satyros w rote treatises O n Famous M en. O n the Pythian Oracle. b u t there is no mention of wings in any of the extant fragments of Empedocles. not­ ably Stephanos the Byzantine. w hich has been preserved. including On Osiris and Isis.). On Nature. His best-known w ork is the Parallel Lives of G reek and Rom an States­ men and Generals. and quotations from. T he very learned Dionysius taught in Rhodes. in the second century B.C. to which no other extant fragm ent corresponds. the ancient philosophers: the Fragmenta H istoricum Graecum and Die Fragmente der G riechi­ schen Historiker. and a little later. In m entioning sources. One wishes he had w ritten parallel lives of the philosophers. His T h e A r t o f Grammar. the Purifications. Diels of the Doxographers ( Doxographi Graeci) contains m uch interesting ma­ terial. after w hich it is forced to return to the earthly life. whose ambition was to be a universal mind. b u t he had hardly enough material on the Roman side to attem pt anything like that. It was published in Europe in the eighteenth century. etc. Dionysius the Thracian.C.. Further sources of inform ation include N eanthes (240-150 B. Quaes­ tiones Naturales. and engaged in a lively controversy w ith each other. T h e Doxographi w ere teachers w ho composed anthologies . Quaestiones Conviviales. w ho lived in E g y p t during the reign of Ptolemy V I.). gave rise to m any comments among the Byzantine scholars. ap­ pended T hrace to his name because his father came from there. T h ey read into the Purifications parts of the myths of Plato about the soul and its im m ortality.D . O n the Face in the Lunar Circle. w ho though born in Alexandria. we cannot omit Plutarch. H e also w rote a great many treatises on the most varied subjects. He was one of the first to teach literary criticism in its contem por­ ary sense.

each w riter culling from his forebears. studded w ith local words.6 Source of famous sayings. w hich could scarcely be imitated b y commentators. All other inform ation regarding Empedocles’ life stems from m uch later sources: some from the Alexandrian com­ m entators. O n the other hand. These passages jump out.' T h e compilers could not imitate the pure Ionian of Heraclitus oi the rich language of Empedocles. hence such characteristics stamp their say­ ings as authentic. the first and the third com pletely ignore all details re­ lating to his life. T heir w ritings preserved genuine passages of Empedoclean philosophy. T he criterion of the genuine character of such fragm ents is the language employed. T h ough his nearest and greatest successors— Plato. and Theophrastus—often refer to Empedocles (as will be noted in de­ tail later). . so to say. T he same is true for the scanty frag. they transm itted some of the fragm ents of Emt pedocles. Anaxagoras. w ho w rote in the already developed A ttic tongue. Aristotle. or w ords invented by him. How ever. T h e genuineness of the Empedoclean texts is thus p re tty well assured. while A ristotle cursorily intersperses some data here and there. and some from the early Christian. from the platitudes of scholiasts because the language of Empedocles is older and m ore original than the comm entary. ments of Heraclitus and Parmenides— the latter because he wrote in verse (though unpoetical) and the form er because of his highly original methods of expression. m ay often have been mis­ quoted or paraphrased. their comments can be disregarded w ith arj easy conscience.

Akragas rose to prosperity and civic independence. of poetry and tru th (D ichtung un d W ahrheit). Usually a single city sent out a party of colons under the leader­ ship of one man. a Cretan and a R ho­ dian. We have no reports of such relations betw een Gela and either Crete or Rhodes. had been founded b y tw o men.C. and the resulting colony owed allegiance to the m other-city (the m etropolis). the city was repopulated under the Romans and renam ed Agrigenthum. T h e life of the city of Akragas extended over a little less than tw o centuries. and was actually a colony of the colony of Gela. w hich lay some dis­ tance to the east. reduced b y famine. LIFE AND LEGEND Just as the life of G oethe consisted. on a ridge above the river from w hich it got its name. Established at the beginning of the sixth century B.2. Its inhabitants. and consulting it on m atters of foreign policy. established just over a hundred years previously. sending delegations w ith gifts to its yearly festivals. it was besieged b y the Carthaginians in 404 B. It was founded in 5 81 B. so traditions of the life of Empedocles are a m edley of fact and fantasy. M uch later.C.C. Empedocles was born in Akragas sometime during the O lym piad 496-49 3 B.. During the tw o centuries of its existence as a G reek colony. It contained 7 . Empedocles' City. Gela. This is rather rare in the history of G reek colonization.C. in his ow n words. Akragas was a flourishing Greek colony on the south shore of Sicily. w ere allowed to leave it with whatever of their belongings they could carry.

and therefore also Akragas. Memories of previous: high levels of culture die hard. Finally. 70) to have comr posed an epic on Xerxes’ attack on G reece in 480 B. w ere “given. inexperienced in evil deeds. If this was sq. the islands of Crete and Rhodes. unlike other Dorian cities. Empedocles must have been the only Sikeliot to have taken notic of th at world-shaping event. w hen both these cities sided w ith the Syracusans against the Athenian invasion. Gylippos. D oric institutions and cus­ toms. one of them the second largest in thé G reek w orld. T h e first time. who inhabit the great city on the banks of fair Akragas. on the high part of the city.C. Akragas was a Dorian cit. Yet there are signs. addressing his friends. 1). officially and technically. Aegean civilization Ion before their conquest b y the Dorians. mindful of good works. w hence came thr colonists of Gela. xxxii. had been great an* populous centers of the pre-G reek. my friends. to cross its territo ry (Thucydides. is reported to have said: “T h e Akragantines feast as if they w ere going to die tom orrow . yet. harboring the strangers whom you honor. and build their houses as if they w ere going to live forever. in which. Hail! N o w Gela. he says: Oh. H ence. that both Empedocles and his city deviated from the usual type of D oric policy and behavior. w hich will be morf fully developed w hen w e examine his work. Also.1 and Empedocles a Dorian. 4). Akragas managed to remain neutral and refused to perm it the Lacedemo­ nian genera]. Akragas lay between Gela on the east ani Selinus on the west..8 L ife and Legend at least six D oric temples. Akragas tw ice experienced a sudden change o regime. VII. Empedocles noting the luxurious w ay o f life of his fellow citizens. it is very probable that Empedocle . Akragas’ m other-city.” in thl expression of T hucydides (V I.C. F o r instance. Empedocles wä instrum ental in overthrow ing the rule of “the Thousand” . iv. Empedocles is reported b y Aristotle (A D P fr. their immediate descendants recaptured powe and exiled Empedocles. on tK| second occasion.” T h at he loved his city dearly is attested by the opening lines of the first fragm ent of his Purifieatioîis. 415-413 B.

for foreignborn charioteers. But N eanthes contests the authenticity of this letter (F G H . also called Empedocles. Heraclides gives the (VH. fr. I have deliberately refrained from accepting the language of his verse as proof th at Empedocles was not a Dorian. T his lan­ guage is a rich and colorful Ionian.000. who gives it as Archinomos. w e can assume that Akragas was inhabited by people of mixed descent— Dorians. Empedocles w rites in dactylic hexameters— the m eter of the epic poems (as. Achaeans. contesting this. T his victory occurred in either a chariot race or a horse race of the O lym piad during w hich Empedocles the philosopher was born (F G H . III. Empedocles’ Family. His grandfather. first b y Favorinus in his Memorabilia . H ence w e m ay consider Em pedocles’ beautiful Ionian as indicating a possibility (b u t not a proof) that he was not himself a pure Dorian. T h e form er is more likely. 72). w hether it was possible for a Dorian to have achieved such a perfection and intensity of expression in w hat was not his m other tongue.li fe and Legend 9 not only preserved m any of the elements of that earlier culture. fr. . and perhaps Aegeans — and that it was free from the usual Dorian prejudices. IIB 241. A certain doubt may linger in our minds. w hich is manifestly too great tion to 20. took part in such races. 7). H is language. does Parm enides)— so it was natural that he should have used the Ionic language. is reported to have w on a victory at Olympia. Pythagoras’ son. is not a w ater-tight proof. In any case. saying he had this inform ation from a letter of Telauges. reduces the populanumber of its inhabitants as 800. fr. but that he considered it as m arking the high point of peace and prosperity fo r mankind. however. Em pedocles’ father’s name of Meton has been contested. W ilam ow itz. to Philolaos (F H G . 3). sometimes even of foreign descent. T he name of Em pedocles’ father was probably M eton.000 w hich is obviously too slight (W S ). It is diffi­ cult to judge the size of the city of Akragas. because b y his time certain Greek dialects had become standard for certain literary produc­ tions. incidentally. a w ealthy and influential citizen of Akragas. studded here and there w ith words either local in usage or coined b y himself.

descriptions of attire. As the name Archinomos occurs in no other source. w ho indulge in useless details of banquets. w hich his rich imagination w ould later clothe in brilliaria images and strikingly original expressions. A t a com paratively early age. fr. H e was instrum ental in overthrowing the oligarchy of “the T housand” and in establishing a free democj| racy in Akragas. although the recording system (related to tag recurring Olym piads) was well established at this period and thl fifth century was highly historically minded. Raised in an affluent family! and in prosperous surroundings. Y et w e have no reports of extensive early travels. son of Stration (V H . we m ay dismiss this story. IIA 84). that Em pedocles’ father was called· Exainetos. But N eanthes insists on the identity of t h s philosopher and the tragedian. his dem ocratic ben| became m ore prom inent. the chroniclers and com m entai tors. Empedocles took an active par in politics and. and that Empedocles had composed then in his yo u th (F G H . after the death of his father. N eanthes obviously intends to drawl a parallel w ith the life of Plato. and perhaps also of some oriental philosoj phies. 73. It seems that he b e c a m ï a disciple of the Eleatic school quite early and that he afterw ard! turned to the study of the m ore rem ote doctrines of Heraclitus! of the early Milesians. III fr. T here is however another tradition credited! to Satyros (F H G . Empedocles' L ife and Personality. U nfortunately. w hich Heraklides. 11). saying that he had personal knowl-l edge of seven tragedies. Empedocles wa| . Empedocles appears to have! show n from youth an insatiable curiosity and a will to emulate his m ost famous contem poraries and predecessors in the investi g a l tion of nature and in the shaping of a consistent picture of thji w orld.10 L ife and Legenm IIA 84). and other tittle-tattle of this sort. H e madf several trips to southern Italy. author of forty-six tragedies of w hich he himseJfl knew forthy-three—w hether b y reading or b y seeing them perJ form ed is not clear. b u t apparently did not venture soi far afield as E g y pt or Babylonia. omit— as if b y a secrea agreem ent among them all— to m ention the date of such an im poli tan t political event. 76)1 tries to reconcile b y saying that the son of Exainetos was anothi r | Empedocles.

This action shows a degree of w ealth rare for a single citizen. VH. and b y the swiftness of their com ­ bined currents the source of the pollution was sw ept away. like the w orks of his early teacher Parmenides.” As another instance. b u t also in an austere and strictly regulated w ay of living in common. his friend Pausanias. Empedocles is reported to have carried out several public w orks at his own expense. H e had the course of tw o other rivers diverted so that they joined w ith the first. Empedocles diagnosed the cause of it as the polluted w ind com ing dow n from a mountain gully.” during a period when his w ord had become law among his fellow citizens. It did not even grant him citizenship w hen he was exiled by Akragas. V III. In contrast to other philosophers. Both these actions must have taken place during the period . P ytha­ goras had selected m any men and w om en to be trained not only in those special sciences for w hich they showed a bent. he was barely tw enty years older than Socrates. and the act appears to have been selfless— a gratuitous gesture b y a “grand seigneur”— for no m ention can be found that Selinus rew arded him in any way. 70. 8h). This m ust surely have been after the overthrow of “the T housand. Soon after this action. a little older than Protagoras. W e are told he then ordered a num ber of asses to be killed and skinned.life and Legend 11 almost the exact contem porar y 7 of Pericles. the sickness abated. fr. W e do not know at w hat age Empedocles started to compose his first w ork On N ature. w hich bore the traditional title of other such works and was w ritten in verse. T his earned him the nickname of “w ind stop­ per. 77). and a little younger than Herodotus. and their skins to be stretched over the narrowest part of the gully (F G H . H aughty and generous. Empedocles diagnosed the cause of a pestilence affecting the neighboring city of Selinus as due to the polluted w aters of the river traversing that city (DL. a physician from Gela. he did not estab lish a school b u t concentrated his whole teaching upon one person. Most of his predecessors had founded at least the rudim ents of a school. W hen Akragas was plagued b y a pestilence. T w o of the most striking of such deeds can be recounted. IIA.


L ife and Legend

w hen “the Thousand” had been dismissed and Empedocles \y || head of the ruling dem ocratic party. It is indeed reported bjf A ristotle himself, among other sources, th at he was offered t | j crow n of king, b u t that he refused it (ASE, fr. 66). This, Aristotlf says, was the gesture of a tru ly free man, w ho preferred to lifl m odestly rather than have the honors and luxury of a king. H o w l ever, the tw o parts of A ristotle’s praiseful com m ent do not n ec eji sarily cohere, as Empedocles lived anything b u t a modest lif| M any near-miraculous cures w ere attributed to him, and Hera]® lides— whose credulity has already been m entioned— is reported b | Satyros to have said that he, Heraklides, was present on one occaS sion when Empedocles was practicing magic (F G H , III fr. 12)· T he m ost astounding of his actions, which, as shown b y the t w l public w orks already mentioned, seem to have been based o|T sound knowledge and practical ability, was the “resurrection” o| a young woman. She had been given up for dead b y all, and h a« remained for th irty days w ithout breath or pulsebeat. EmpedocleJ is said to have remained b y her side day and night throughout thif time, and in the end she recovered consciousness and revived. l | m ay have been a case of catalepsy or severe concussion, and it : not impossible that, w ithout his continuous presence, encouiagej ment, and perhaps secret feeding, she m ight have passed from than state to death. I have m yself know n of tw o cases in w hich the constant carl and encouraging presence of a close relative perform ed such f near-miracle. T h e first was a boy w ho had fallen from a thirdj floor w indow and w ho was unconscious and given up b y thi doctors. His m other stayed near him for m any days, refusing t a abandon hope, constantly talking to him and attending to lij| bodily needs; and the boy revived. T he second case was a w om a| w ho had a stroke and w ho was also doomed b y medical opiniof· H er daughter w ent on talking to her, feeding her, and behaving· as if her m other was fully alive and could understand her; thia wom an also revived, though in a very weakened condition, anil was able to eat and talk and read. I never saw her, but I knew th | boy; he was a lively, normal youngster one year after his accident! These cases show that the functions of consciousness and of ability


and Legend


to respond to stimuli are quite distinct. Both could be considered piracies b y naive observers. Satyros reported th at w hen the news w ent abroad th at the young woman, Pantheia, had risen from her bed and was walking again, a group of people gathered at a banquet saw Empedocles approach and all rose and prostrated themselves before him as before a god. Banquets play a big part in the apocryphal traditions a b ou t Empedocles, and w e shall refer again to them w hen w e con­ sider the legends built around him. Incidentally this girl, Pantheia, is one of the main characters in the tragedy b y the G erm an poet Hölderlin, T h e Death o f Empedocles. The only absolutely certain date w e know of Em pedocles’ life is his journey to T hurii in 444 B.C., for its founding celebrations. Thurii, in Southern Italy, was a magnificent conception of Pe­ ricles. It was intended as an all-G reek colony w ith no “m othercity” to w hich it owed allegiance: a city to w hich any G reek could emigrate or in w hich he could take refuge, irrespective of his native city or his origin. Its founding celebrations in 444 B.C. were attended also b y H erodotus, the great historian, and by Protagoras, the Sophist to w hom Pericles had entrusted the draft­ ing of the constitution of the city. T h e date is supposed to coin­ cide w ith the time of Empedocles’ “floruit,” or prim e of life, which was usually taken as the fortieth year. B ut if his birth occurred betw een 496-493 B.C. he was nearly fifty w hen he w ent to Thurii. H e m ust in any case have been already w ell-know n throughout the G reek w orld— and a prom inent citizen of Akragas — to have been officially bidden to that occasion. Alm ost certainly he must at least have com pleted his first great w ork, O n N ature, and probably he still ruled over Akragas, as he apparently returned there from Thurii. The other certain event of his life, though not its date, is his visit to Olym pia to hear his second great w ork publicly recited by a rhapsode named Cleomenes. But although these quadrennial games served as chronological sign-posts for G reek history, none of the sources tells us at w hich O lym piad this happened. Timaeus informs us that Empedocles’ appearance caused m ore com m ent and more turning of heads than anyone else’s (DL, V III, 66; F H G , I,

of the Purifications m ust have taken some time. W e may therefor! p u t at least eight years (tw o Olym piads) betw een E m pedoclei (Some persons conscious of their superiority affect an uncommon mode of appearance, as an alternative to a self-consciousness ths§ turns b itter because their merits m ay be insufficiently recogni/ol. J a conversion does not take ro o t in a moment, and the com positio! bronze sandals and a majestic tunic (DK, 3IB fr. 112). In his attira and demeanor Empedocles has often been com pared w ith Anaxil mander, the second of the three great Milesian philosophers! these notions are totally absent from his w ork O n N ature. Sucra fr. 88a). As Empedocles describes himself in one of his fragments! he was crow ned w ith the sacred fillets of the priests of Apollol his arms laden w ith evergreen wreaths, and he w ore his famoüj T h e philosophical content of the Purifications that w ere recite! at Olym pia is in m arked contrast to that of Empedocles’ first w o rl On Nature. W e cannot bu t surmise that it was w ritten after Ena pedocles’ conversion to the Pythagorean doctrine of transmigrai tion, hence to the idea of the im m ortality o f the individual soul and to certain taboos that accompanied it, such as absention fron] meat and beans, a strict keeping of oaths, and a belief in sin. All journey to T h urii and his arrival at Olympia.* This tallies in pan b u t in part only, w ith A ristotle’s report that Empedocles died a| an exile in the Peloponnese around his sixtieth year. His triunil phant progress through the crow ds at Olym pia does not in ana w ay resemble the behavior of an exile; and, if he had died in tHl Peloponnese, Aristotle w ould have know n m ore details about thi place and time of his death. Piecing together the various contra dictory reports, I am led to the following conclusions: E m pf docles w ent to Olym pia around the age of sixty, not fifty, and he was exiled “in absentia” b y the descendants of the oligarchs he hac overthrow n a short generation before. A fter that, nothing positivi is know n of his movements, and this led A ristotle to the hypo! thesis that Empedocles died in the Peloponnese. From that poim on, history gets thinner and the legends pullulate. Em pedoclei *W. Kranz still upheld the priority of the Purifications in his Empedoclei (Zurich, 14949). 1

I. hence to the belief th at the sacrificial animal m ight have been a man in some previous exis­ . “his return was opposed b y his enemies’ descendants” . fr. T here are four stories of banquets. 67). which means th at fo r at least a short generation— tw en ty years or so—Empedocles held sw ay over Akragas (DL. for no other story involving violent revenge is connected w ith Empedocles. and th at it was confined m erely to the narrow limits of a single city state (usually an area less than a hundred miles across).” says Diogenes Laertius. T he time that elapsed betw een the overthrow of “the T housand” and Empedocles’ exile is usually reported as m uch shorter than I have indicated. Empedocles cannot have been the host at that one. b u t a rem ark of Diogenes Laertius has n o t been given its proper w eight b y the commentators. “Later. T hen there is a garbled account of a banquet at w hich it is reported that Empedocles chided the master of ceremonies and later had him brought to trial and sentenced to death (F H G . T his could have been a w ay to get rid of a political opponent. O n the other hand. Even the sequence of events I have sketched out is not explicitly recorded b y any com m entator. W e have already m entioned one in w hich the guests rose and prostrated themselves before him as before a god. T h e third concerns a feast Empedocles gave after his conversion to the Pythagorean concep­ tion of the transm igration of souls. In addition. the notion seems unlikely.Ι ψ and Legend 15 fragment whose beginning has been already quoted m ay have been written as the opening of Purifications (as it is placed b y DielsKranz). even so. telescoped b y m any com m entators into two. We must rem em ber th at in those times exile was not a shameful fate. To complete the scanty bits of inform ation w e have about Empedocles’ life. it was easy for a man to have m ost of his fortune and belongings brought out to him in exile. it m ay well have been w ritten to his friends at Akragas after the impression he had created at O lym ­ pia— an impression he was not loath to see repeated in m any other “far-shining cities” in Sicily and Southern Italy after his return. V II. though. it has had to be pieced together from bits of inform ation scattered here and there. 88a). w e m ust draw upon the banquets. The scanty facts know n of Empedocles’ life have been adduced above.

there is the banquet after w hich Empedocles disap. a Syracusan. Finally. forj Akragas is n o t near enough to A etna fo r it to be visible fronj there. w ho was quite] w ealthy. A t this feast. w ho how-' ever confuses it w ith the preceding banquet (V H . quoted b y Diogenes] Laertius. This statem ent indirectly con firms th at Empedocles m ust have been in exile at the time. Diogenes Laertius includes tw o epigrams at the end of his life! of Empedocles. th at he died at the age of 77. Statements of Empedocles’ age at the time of his death varj| from sixty. or bronze-studded. If all occurred as related. someone found one of his famous bronze. T here is also a tale. (T his feast is supposed to have been held in a field belonging to a certain Peisianax.) Empedocles. the age given b y Aristotle. did not erect a cenotaph or an altar to Empedocles.' peared. the guests lay dow n to sleep under the trees. even a relative of his slaughterer. and condiments (F H G . made of flour. 3). It is also evidence that Empedocles could easily consorfi w ith his friends from Akragas and other places in Sicily. 76). rather futile controversy. sole disciple. asi the inhabitants of Lampsacus had done for Anaxagoras. near Messina and broken his thigh (DL. III. w hich w ould be roasted and consumed b y them after a leg had been burned to cinders as an offering to the gods. having fallen from a chariot. and that! he still lived in com parative luxury. had happened was a fulfilm ent of prayer. it is strange that Pausanias. saying that what. fr. is reported to have remained sitting or reclining in his place. ordered the search to be called off. near the top of the mountain. the guests expected the usual sacrifice of a bull. Both are extrem ely prosaic and inartistic. Instead they saw the effigy of a bull. a story that has given rise to considerable. fr. to the improbable age o: one hundred and nine. T his story is told in great detail b y Heraklides. b u t they- . and they should all worship him as such.16 L ife and Legend tence. A search was then made and. his. sandals. W hen the servants w ere questioned. one said that during the night he had heard a voice calling Empedocles b y name and that a brilliant light appeared on the summit of Aetna. B ut next m orning he was now here to be found. however. A t this point Pausanias. honey. he says. After a feast in the open air. V III). Empedocles had nowl become a god.

physicians and leaders of men on earth. by the dire flame the body purifying. T h a t he was an accomplished physician and had probably conducted several autopsies is attested b y the controversy in w hich he was engaged . I won’t say you threw yourself deliberately into Aetna but that. fo r m any w riters have commented on the absence of any grave. from these states they sprout up again as gods immortal. If in fact Empedocles did throw himself into the center of Mount Aetna. on the other hand. on studying his w ork m ore closely. c o m p o s e d b y Diogenes Laertius himself. The second epigram by an unknow n author gives the story of the chariot and the broken thigh: Tis true they say Empedocles fell from a chariot a n d broke his right thigh. T his epigram is odd. that Em pe­ docles claimed all these qualities for himself. a colony of the Megara in Attica. tries to give a rational explanation of his fall into the crater of M ount Aetna: You too. honored above all. In the Purifications. ( D K . T he explanation m ay lie in his conviction that he possessed supernatural powers. centuries after his time. wishing to escape attention. once Empedocles. T he first epigram. If. Empedocles remained a live memory and a source of considerable curiosity. w h y did he? It cannot have been out of despair at his banishment from Akragas. adding how ever that many other famous men have no know n grave. how could then his grave be shown in Megara? The “M egara” m entioned here is an Italiot city. he jumped into the crater and thus ended his life. you fell into it advertently. and that men such as he could not die a natural death. for exile was a fairly com m on fate for prom inent men in ancient Greece. sought death in the crater’s fire. b u t m ust be snatched up by the gods and translated into their rightful realm.life and Legend 17 show that. 146) We shall notice. 3 IB f r. he states th at such men: In the end become seers and composers of hymns.

and was there annihilated b y a thunderbolt. So he forestalled fate by creating! his ow n legend. the consciousness that he had given all of w hich he wasl capable. Iphigenia was saved b y Artemis from im molation and w afted to Colchis to act as her priestess. In his opinion. ofl simply a conviction that the time had come to go and m eet hia end. 1 T here m ay have been other causes for his action: satiety with! life. and funerals took place at night so that the sun should not loolj upon the dead man. H e therefore travelled to A ttica to rew ard Theseus for his hospitality. Oedipus. b u t living in a m ore rationalist age. a man m ight end his life rather than liva in a condition of reduced powers. that unhappy man w ho had unw ittingly com m itted tw o most heinous crimes and suffered the utm ost degradation. 112). Suicide was no t then considered a sin. W e can be fairly sure that Empedocles longed for a similar death. was taken up to Olym pus in the flower of his youth to serve the gods at their banquets. N one of these left a corpse behind. His Purifications might! be considered as a series of hymns. received an oracle that the land w ould be happy in w hich he m et his death. he mentions that. 3 IB fr.” he was followed b y m any w ho w ere in need! of a prophecy or of a piece of com forting advice. W e have also seen that EmpeJ docles was prom inent in politics. and the first on the Purifications. being beset by m any ills (D K . T h e Greeks had a horror of the decay of a dead body. such men should not be doomed to a com m on death and to decay as miserable corpses. he was notsure it w ould be granted to him.w ith followers of the H ippocratic school. a feeling th at his mental powers w ere on the wane. w ho took him seriouslJ enough to attem pt to refute his statements. w ith a popular support strong! enough to offer him the crow n of king. T here w ere m any stories in G reek m ythology of men and wom en being bodily lifted up into “heaven” or to other realms. In quite another vein. It was accepted thafi after m ature deliberation. the beloved of Zeus. In the first fragm ent ofl the Purifications. m T h at Empedocles was far from being in such a state is attested! b y tw o fragments: the last fragm ent of O n N ature. In the form er he promises his sole disciple« . w hen he w ent through “thël far-shining cities. Ganymede.

the second records his progress and the honor in w hich he was held. and in the drought of summer wilt thou call forth tree-nourishing streams and the branches will reach up to heaven. From the Netherworld thou wilt bring back the vital force of a man already dead. at thy will. I am revered by men and women. for only to thee shall I these things reveal. 31B fr. as is fitting. while others most desire to hear a word of advice To relieve their long-standing sufferings. I l l ) The Purifications begins w ith the three lines (already quoted) addressing the citizens of Akragas. destroy by their breath meadows and fields. new-risen winds will rush. which. rising out of the earth. others are in dire need of a prophecy. the acquisition of all the powers he had himself pos­ sessed. 3IB fr. and again. (DK. T h e y m ight indeed have been w ritten in sequence and belong together. that a definite and profound change has occurred in Em pedocles’ outlook w hich entitles us to suppose n o t only a lapse of some time betw een On N ature and the Purifications. From darkling rain wilt thou cause dry weather. thousands follow me as I go through the shining cities. w hich can only have been occasioned b y the influence of Pythagorean mys­ . appropriate to men’s needs. (DK. in the rest of Purifications. 112) Both these fragm ents show Empedocles at the height of his powers and full of self-confidence in his knowledge and art. Thou wilt stop the violence of tireless winds. b u t a sort of conversion to a new outlook. crowned with sacred fillets. Some ask which is the way to gain.lif e and Legend 19 pausanias. W e shall see. And all the medicines that are. and then goes on: Hail! I wander among you now no more a mortal but like of god immortal. laden with wreaths. honored by all. to keep away old age and sickness thou wilt learn.

but about w hom he had no illusions-J “thou shalt learn. yet no m ore than human m ind can reach”—doesf not seem to have been m ore than a good physician.C. accepts that w e are now in the period w hich Empe-i docles described as the m ounting suprem acy of Strife. T h e Death of Empe -1 docles. (D K . in his m onograph “Empedocle. to w hom he promised to| transm it all his powers. that] Empedocles was “a man of m any parts. a benefactor of his ow n and neighboring! cities. (W e reserve a comparison of the tw o worksl fo r subsequent chapters. a biologist. fr. O n N ature. “Empedocles on Aetna. 2 ) T h e only tenuous link of Empedocles w ith Athens is ag rep o rt that Pausanias came there during the G reat Plague whichj decimated the city ’s population at the beginning of the Pelopon-j nesian w ar (429-428 B. 31B| fr. a “grand seigneur” in his generosity. 115) 1 Empedocles left no school. a prophet. and to probe into the motives of his deaths T h e poet H ölderlin’s tragedy in tw o acts. Nietzsche refers to Empedocles repeatedly with] great admiration. overbearing yet humble— as w hen hej described himself as a sinner. Romain Rolland. 3IB.” also takes the legend of his| death for granted. a great and original poet. Pausanias.) | Despite the paucity and the contradictions of the extant infor-| mation. a marij prom inent in politics. even from the scanty inform ation w e possess. “a fugitive from the gods and aj vagrant.ticism.).” a universal mind of his] time: a distinguished physician.j ou l’age de la haine. A lthough one m ay deplore a certain nari row ing of Em pedocles’ detachm ent from personal fate and a r e | tu rn to certain older traditions that earlier he had seemed to have) overcome. I It is clear. though weak in dramatic episode. M athew Ar-| nold’s poem.” though understanding little of Empedocles] philosophy. Empedocles’ w riting is as brilliant in Purifications as in his first w ork.” (DK. a convinced democrat. the colorful and striking personality of the philosopher] has inspired m any m odern authors to attem pt an im aginary recon-f struction of his life. his trium ph at Olym pia shows that he was still vigorous] in body and mind. and that he was helpful in caring foil . manages to convey bothj the greatness of the man and the fram e of m ind that could leadj him to seek a death for w hich he feels he is ready.

In belated recognition of Empedocles’ im portance. he m ight have made the same rem ark as Democritus. his fellow citizens erected a statue to him in Akragas. . the statue is reported to have been removed from Akragas and reerected before the Senate House in Rome. w hen the city was repopulated under the Romans. after visiting Athens. w ho raised the homely teaching of Socrates to immeasurable heights of metaphysical speculation. we do not know. W hether this happened before the destruction of the city b y the Carthaginians in 404 B. Before Plato. bu t no one knew me”— meaning th at no one took notice of him. withering under baneful diseases were by his hand turned away from Persephone’s realm in the Netherworld. It runs: The physician called Pausanias. If he did. or much later. In any event.C.jjjg and Legend 21 the stricken. there was not a single major or minor philosopher w ho claimed Athenian citizenship. native of Gela. Athens had not yet become the center of philosophy. there is no record that he ever w ent to Athens. F or at that time. and who. the great atomist w ho came from Abdera in Thrace. almost at the other end of the G reek w orld. an Asclepiad. Though Empedocles visited Olympia. reported: “I w ent to Athens. many men. and was more or less the happy hunting ground of the Sophists. A n epigram to Pausanias is erroneously attributed to Empedocles. son of Anchites.

saw the greatest expansion of the G reek race in the M editer­ ranean lands. at the tu rn of the fifth century. T ru e.3. handed Ionia to the Persians.C. In the east. G reek colonies studded the whole coast of Asia M inor and Sicily. CONTEMPORARIES T h e second half of the sixth and the first half of the fifth centuries. T h e end of the Peloponnesian w ar (404 B. after the repulse of the Persians b y Athens. T he populations. the elder and younger Dionysius. and remained so fo r another 50 to 60 years. it was able to endanger the Athenian Empire. the last off-shoot of the Eleatics. and some cities even experienced a rebirth of their ancient well-being before Alexander reincorporated them all into the G reek w orld. the Spartans. and the southern part of Italy was so thickly strew n w ith them th at the w hole area was called G reater Grecce. under tw o tyrants. some to the other. w hom Plato tried vainly to encourage to build a new life on the solid basis of philo­ sophic m orality. was one of trem endous intellectual vigor. remained. M any original idea 22 .C. freedom. Indeed. Ionia was constantly assailed b y Persian attacks. the alleged defenders of G reek freedom . and wealth. B. some to one. was so strong that. under the leadership of Melissos. T h e period that concerns us here (the sixth and fifth centuries). and one b y one its cities fell. one of the Ionian islands. in 440 B.) saw an end to this prosperity. Syracuse held out fo r a century or so. G reater Greece became a battleground betw een Rome and the Carthaginians. however.C. Samos. In the west. but. but finally* all to Rome. Ionia was restored to peace.

M any philosophers w ere credited w ith long stays in E g y p t (am ong them Pythagoras and P lato). A ccording to H erodotus. 1. to m any other lands. some estimating it as a few months. A ccording to Plato’s Protagoras (343). A t the same time the purity. Pythagoras brought to Greek lands the doctrine of the Egyptians that the soul was immortal and m igrated through all forms of animals during three thousand years. as three years. Plato in Timaeus has a long tale by Critias. Plato’s disappearance from Athens (and sub­ sequently from M egara) after the execution of Socrates is of unknown duration. others. 12a.Contemporaries 23 were propounded in Ionia and G reater Greece. This freedom of intercourse contrasts sharply w ith the later distinction between Greeks and barbarians. from whom he learned geography and geom etry. after taking refuge in Persia. the Phoenician king of Thebes. of how his ancestor Solon visited and discoursed at length w ith the Egyptian priests. is credited w ith a Phoenician m other— a descendant of Kadmos. H e had had no other teacher except the Egyptians. as the people sent out from the respective metropolises w ere mostly unmarried men and language does not seem to have constituted the barrier it is sometimes made out to be: Themistocles. and expressive power of the G reek language developed b y leaps and bounds. T h e population of the colonies had probably a great admixture of other races. Thales the Milesian. D uring this time he probably visited E g y p t before going to Cyrenaica and then to the Pythagoreans in Italy. learned the language perfectly in a single year. pliancy. the first G reek philosopher. T h e Milesian historian Hecateus (F G H .3) confirmed during his travels the exactness of Anaximander’s map of the world. Thales arrived in Miletos after being exiled from Phoenicia w ith a certain Neilos. Dem oc­ ritus is said to have made a journey to India and Scythia. and the tale of Critias m ay well have been an account of Plato’s conversa­ tions w ith the priests there.T . and the historians H erodotus and Hecateus. Contacts and exchanges also occurred w ith the non-Greek w orld— w ith the ancient wisdom of E g y p t and Assyria and perhaps also India. I. like his successor Anaximander. until it . and there was great freedom of interchange and a clash of crosscurrents w ithin and between them.

although nothing of the w ork of Thales. T h e three great. self-isolation. 9 All these cities w ere free of bondage to any G reat Power.” One® is also left aghast at the enormous sum paid b y the insignificant· city of Abdera to Democritus.· cos from the island of Kea w ere all “strangers to Athens. only w hen it is not made an excuse fo r wars. ii . . they w ere accustomed to that sort of money. “culture. T h e overall picture of Em pedocles’ times. xeno-. m ay be sketched as follows: By the time of his birth. T h e colonies flourished in lands w here soil was richer than itJB G reece proper. T h e y cannot bcj created at will. wealth.” the more that elusive quality escapes it. though not sufficient in itself— and perhaps. hence they provided the m argin necessary to th e » development of the apparently useless luxury of science a n d · speculation. and the enslavement of others. and still continued to flourish. and intellectual ferm ent that existed during: the period under consideration in both Ionia and G reater Greecej can be com pared to the richness and variety of Italian culture during the early Renaissance. a fa c til th at leads one to reflect on the relation of political freedom and creative thought. T h e S o p h ists· Protagoras of Abdera. and P r o d i. having spent all his m oney. from the philosophi-j cal point of view. T h e Great W orld Order. Such privileged periods seem to occur rarely and interm ittently in human history. Gorgias from Leontini in Sicily. after he read to the citizens h is » great w ork. I venture to suggest that political freedom is a s j necessary prerequisite. Athens knew magnificently how to! exploit the freedom she enjoyed for about sixty years after she’ had reduced the Persian threat. Milesian philosophers— Thales. T he com bination of im-j plicit freedom. on his retu rn from his® travels. and Anaximines— w ere already dead. only Athens a n d « C orinth could afford this luxury in the fifth century— but at w h a tjl cost to themselves and to others! B T his explains the enormous fees the Sophists asked for their® tuition.became the m ost perfect instrum ent for expressing ab stra c t» thought. most of the principal schools of philosophy had alreadyi been established. apparently. phobia. Anaximander. O f the cities on the G reek mainland. but. the m ore a state strives consciously for.

four of which have been preserved. H e is said to have composed fo rty of these. Zeno m ust have been a few years younger than Empedocles. w hom he showed how to handle a subject of dialectics. His companion. It is the art of covering ignorance w ith seemingly . was a famous expounder of paradoxes.29).. since Apollodorus reports Anaxim ander’s death to have occurred short­ ly after 546 B. Zeno. IX . w ho was then about fo rty years of age. 244) The Eleatic School. Anaximander." C o n te m p o r a r ie s 25 was preserved. If the story of the dialogue between Parmenides and Socrates is based on historic fact. A ccording to the Platonic dialogue that bears his name. Zeno discovered or invented dialectics. w ith his disciple Zeno. and. w ro te an “Explanation” of Em pedocles’ doc­ trine for the 82nd Olym pia (448-445 B. according to Aristotle (ASE. before Empedocles was born.C. such a connection is indicated b y some of Empedocles’ preoccupations. IIB. if true at all. th at flatters the palate w ithout regard to the health of the consumer.). Zeno. then tw en ty years old. w ho was among the founders of the colony of Elea. regarding the impossibility of con­ ceiving movement.C. and Empedocles rhetoric. Parmenides there expounded his doctrine in a discussion w ith the young Socrates. according to Suidas (DL. Parmenides was already sixty-five w hen he came to Athens in 450 B. R hetoric is com pared b y Plato to the art of the confec­ tioner. a rem ote connection cannot be ruled out between Empedocles and the theories of the Milesians. especially his physiology. and Empedocles is not know n to have visited Asia M inor. but this. It is most probable that Empedocles had a direct and early contact w ith the Eleatic school in Southern Italy. m ust have been on the basis of hearsay. These four still exercise the ingenuity of mathematicians and logicians. F o r example. 65). fr.C. If we leave out of consideration the strange personality of Xeno­ phanes. the real founder of the Eleatic school was Parmenides. It is also true that Empedocles (as al­ ready m entioned) is reported to have im itated the majestic garb and haughty demeanor of the second Milesian. probably parts of the w orks of the others were accessible. I must emphatically disagree w ith the second part of this state­ ment. (F G H .

An orator can present an argum ent or its contradiction in such a w ay that he' convinces the listener he is telling the truth. com bated the whole band of Sophists. So at the tw o ends of the line Em pedocles-Gorgias-Thucydides. and immobile. who. N ow . immutable. H e later established a school in Thessaly. Hence. about nothing. transm itting to Thucydides something of the thought of Empe­ docles. b u t A ristotle also made a statem ent that. there is no author in G reek literature less rhetorical than Thucydides. w e have highly eminent men and original thinkers. m any of the Sophists w ere philosophers. long since dead. is one indivisible w holeeternal. It is true that there are several original and striking expres­ sions in Empedocles’ w o rk — turns of phrase invented b y him— but he was not a rhetorician. Being has no parts. was at one time. Indeed. whose every sentence is w rung out of him after long deliberation. and in betw een them a so-called orator. A ristotle states that Gorgias. in a difficult. Aristotle. hence it cannot even move w ithin itself. and linguists.C. no doubt intended his com m ent on Empedocles as deroga­ tory. as m uch as Plato. the orator believes in nothing and has no theory of his own to ex­ pound. H e was a dedicated philosopher who tried to arrive at truth. leading citizen of Leontini. and is supposed b y many classical scholars to have influenced Thucydides. nothing can be said. or Being. turning his subject now this w ay and now that. at bottom . in a w ord.: living there to an advanced old age. T o return to Parmenides: T he Eleatic school represents the most consequential and uncom prom ising monism in the whole history of philosophy. Reality. andone of the greatest Sophists of the fifth century. This Gorgias was sent to Athens by his: fellow citizens in 427 B. to speak of void is to speak about nothing.26 Contemporaries rational arguments. to ask for Athenian aid for his city: against the Syracusans. m ay absolve him. Empedocles’ disciple. it is an art of deceit. even occasionally lighting verbal fireworks. sociol­ ogists. T here is no void. One w ould like to think that an intellectual influence was passed on b y the non-D orian Gorgias.: This does n o t make sense. and original language. historically speak­ ing. unless Gorgias was m ore than a mere Sophist. psychologists. . dense.

it is unthinkable. H ence all change and all movem ent is a deception of the senses. continuing the argument. Young Socrates is rendered speechless after a few initial attem pts to express the th eo ry of the Platonic Form s or Ideas. to their extreme consequences. indeed. denies not only change bu t time. we cannot speak of it w ithout contradicting ourselves. so where could anything more come into it? (DK. and the elderly Parmenides. Total annihilation is equally unthinkable.F " C o n te m p o ra rie s 27 Jill m ovement and change is only appearance. Em pe­ docles attributed a prim ary significance to time— although some fragments show th at he adopted the notion of a plenum —and he denied that things and beings can be produced out of nothing and return to nothing. as reported in the Platonic dialogue “Par­ menides. for each thing will eternally be where it has been set forever. (DK. w ith convincing cogency. not only that all move­ ment is impossible but that the m inutest change of anything in quality or in quantity is equally impossible. he denied birth and death. 3IB. analytical thought cannot grasp the com bination of change and identity. T hree fragm ents of Empedocles seem literally lifted from Par­ menides’ poem.” is striking and forceful. (DK. T h e One was not and will not be. They inferred. 3IB. 3lB fr. 12) Nothing of the Whole is empty. fr. From something not existing at all. 14) These verses are among the least poetic of Empedocles. it is in an ever-existing present. and might seem to justify A ristotle’s criticism: “T here is nothing in . that is. irrespective of the contradicting evidences of sense perception. nor does anything overflow. draw n from apparently self-evident premises. w hich had the same title: O n Nature. which is im plicit in all movement. it is impossible that something should grow. And. and to carry conclusions. T he deductive strictness of Parmenides’ logical arguments. and ’tis impossible it should happen. inconceivable. fr. 14) No part of the Whole is em pty. The Eleatics w ere the first to discover the potency of the de­ ductive logical process. H ow ever. therefore unreal.

” (A R III. like Empedocles w ho deceives b y repeating in a' circle the same thing in m any w ords. T o these statements it is only fitting to add the contrary but less know n opinion of Dionysus himself: “M any have striven tow ards this (austere) harm ony but distin-j guished from the others in epic poetry are Antimachos from Kolo­ phon and Empedocles. does not recur in any of Em pedocles’ fragm ents except the three quoted. i. (DK. | (DK 3lB fr. 1407a) In a similar vein the scholiast to Dionysius the T hracian enumerates fo u r characteristics of poetry and finds that Empedocles has only one of them -versification. the whole together one. for it is now. of change and move­ ment. and whence would it grow? I won’t let it be said " nor conceived that it did so from what was not. 28B fr. all those questions-i w hence could som ething come into being and w hither could it gO. But Parmenides harps on these aspects of his theory over and over again: . what made it spring into being. It is not conceivable nor possible to say that something is not. continuous. earlier or later from nothing? N or will it ever be valid to say that it came out of nothing or out of something outside it. For then. nor will it be. bu t not] limitless universe is also found in one isolated hypothetical clause! among Empedocles’ fragments: I For if the earth’s depths and the abundant ether were unlimited. in tragedy Aeschylus. . 22) T h e plenum. and unchangeable universe is not: limitless is repeatedly stressed b y Parmenides and is consistent! w ith his basic theory. 1447b) Still sharper is the criticism in A ristotle’s Rhe­ torica: “W h en they have nothing to say but pretend to be saying som ething .” (D C V . in lyric poetry Pindar.28 Contemporark com m on betw een Empedocles and H om er except the m e te r”! (A P I. for what sort of birth of it would you seek? How. 39) * . This conception of an immensely large. It was not. . iv. 8) T h a t this eternal. immovable. the absence of em pty space. for if it w ere otherwise. w hen it disappeared— w ould have an obvious answer: from andi into the Infinite. J as is poured out by many mouths through tongues wagging 1 to no purpose. by men who have seen too little of the whole.

F or Parmenides. gaping tribes w ithout judgm ent. Empedocles admitted them as means of carrying. unusual in philosophic works: “Don’t sit there gaping.E. (m ortals) are driven anyhow . 6) And an Em pedoclean fragm ent states: Do thou look (at these things) with thy mind. Leonard’s translation of the fragments of Empedocles. all round. Parmenides and Empedocles. 8) And Empedocles: In it were not to be seen the swift limbs of the sun nor the earth’s dense vegetation. not immediate conviction. “exultant in surrounding solitude. this way or that. having entered the receptive m ind of a young man. nor yet the sea.C o n te m p o r a r ie s 29 Parmenides has an expression. (DK 3lB fr. after a long process of sifting. spherical all round. exultant in surrounding solitude. though often inaccurate and lacking in philosophical understanding. But though a contempt for the direct evidence of the senses and for the pow er of understanding of the com m on man is shared b y m any philoso­ phers. Another point of apparent resemblance betw een Parmenides and Empedocles is the theory of the Sphairos. it cannot grow a little greater or a little less. W hile Parmenides denied all evidence of the senses. both blind and deaf. . . are very different. but the first rudim ents on w hich philosophic speculation must build. (DK 3lB fr. its repercussions on the theory of knowledge of these tw o philosophers. at times includes happy renderings. 17) The use of the same w ords cannot be accidental. at an equal distance from the centre. which. the immovable universe is in the shape of a sphere: But as there is an outermost limit set fast on all sides. comparable in mass to a well-rounded sphere. So much was the Sphairos firmly embedded within the secret compactness of harmony.” (D K 28B fr. it is complete. . But the repetition of the same word shows th at the influence of the Eleatics remained in the background. . and don’t sit there gaping in amazement at what thine eyes show thee.” from W. (DK 28B fr. 27)* *1 borrow the last sentence.

Xenophanes is also credited w ith the say­ ing. “If bulls and lions had hands. Xenophanes lived beyond the age of 92. or sexual organ shaggy. for there are no traces in the' austere doctrine of Parmenides of Xenophanes’ jovial.” he says. the rounded Sphairos. on all sides equal unto itself. alleged b y some to be the first Eleatic philosopher.. (A M P I. the Sphairos is the form of the divine: a sphere neither finite nor infinite. as we have seen.fr. immobile. but also the shorter Silloi satyrical verses against all and sundry. W h a t interests us in connection w ith Empedocles is his conception of the Sphairos^ w hich is fundamental to Empedocles’ theory of the cosmic cycle. singing his ow n verses full of derision for the old poets. (DK 3lB. 28) T h e next fragm ent stresses the u tter dissimilarity of the Sphairos to a man’s (or a god’s) body: From its back no twin branching arms are swinging. F or Xenophanes (according to A ristotle). 986b) F or Parmenides. This is doubtful. etc. un- . having nothing in common w ith the human species. but not breathing. the Universe as a whole is a sphere. all-mind. yet equal to itself. Homer and Hesiod. that he had done m ore good to men than the athletes. gods in their ow n likeness. on all sides equal and altogether infinite. 15 ) H e w rote not only. in dactylic hexameters.” (D K 2 IB. T h e dissimilarity of the Sphairos to the human shape m ay be a rem oter echo from Xenophanes. the gods. fr. the honored athletes. 29) T h e differences are already apparent. It is a sphere.30 Contemporaries But he. and for all traditional forms of worship. all-hearing. disrespect­ ful treatm ent of all the time-hallowed traditions of the Greeks. an itinerant rhapsode. it has no feet or swift-moving knees. allseeing. v. considered so original in Socrates’ Apology. exultant in surrounding solitude. m odern mathematics admits of equal and unequal infinite numbers. victorious at Olym pia because of their swiftness of foot or strong fists. fr. “they w ould have made images of the. In one of Empedocles’fragm ents the Sphairos is unlimited on all sides. (DK 3lB.

or men. . b u t engulfed or amalgamated it into a m ore synoptic picture of the Universe. or beasts. creating all the time new forms. from all so far said. that the influence of the Eleatics was p re tty strong at a certain stage of Em pedocles’ de­ velopment. and A ristotle is wrong in attributing the addition of the fo u rth element— earth— to Empedocles. movement. air. H ow ­ ever. F or Empedocles this becomes one of fo u r phases of the cosmic cycle. as well as of the H ippocratean school of medicine. or sky. Empedocles cares less about logical con­ sistency that about an internal m etaphysical consistency. which constituted the param ount and original contribution of the Eleatic school. from far-aw ay Ephesus in Asia M inor. it does so only at immeasurably long intervals. this was a com m on tenet of m any philosophers at that time. and never explicitly repudiated the influence of the Eleatics. Heraclitus. A lthough the immobile. It is impossible to understand the developm ent of Empedocles’ thought w ithout taking into account the influence of Heraclitus. and there are no gods. or sea. or earth.Contemporaries 31 changeable. and w ater. But it never w ent very deep. fo r the few fragments quoted to verify this influence are in contradiction w ith the rest of his theory. and is therefore transcendent and simultaneous w ith the universe. fire. is m ore and m ore pushed aside in favor of a grand­ ly imaginative and intuitive conception of the Universe and its laws. the only Being w hich cannot have originated from anything else. Historically. In this conception. In Empedocles’ w ork. H e main­ tained his reverence for Parmenides throughout his life. and striv­ ing go on forever. T he Universe becomes the Sphairos when it gathers everything unto itself. F or Xenophanes. the Sphairos exists outside the w orld. logical force of argument. Another trace of Xenophanes’ teaching in Empedocles is his acceptance of the four elements. change in quality as well as in quantity (perhaps n o t of the whole b ut of its parts). that is. and it lasts for a limited stretch of time. earth. N ot-being. changeless perfection of the Sphairos does occur. W e m ay conclude. nor can it change since it w ould then become some­ thing other than itself. w hich is periodically destroyed and reform ed.

fo r we have no reports of his journeying to Asia Mino Heraclitus published nothing during his lifetime. T he apothegms w ere there fore seemingly paradoxical. In character and m ood Heraclitus was almost the exact oppositi of Empedocles. according to w hich a state o affairs and of thought inevitably produces its ow n contradiction. bu t thought of the contradictions existing simultaneously. Justice— the impersonal Logos. it is patently open for al people to see. H e offers nothing bu t his naked. He. But ther will come a time. must certainly be attributed t© Heraclitus. and wounde thought. w hich he believec to be a m ore accurate expression of reality. Better? W orse? H e does not bother w ith these m od qualifications. a ceremonial kingship connected w ith the worship of Artemi In H eraclitus’ contem pt for mankind he at times included himsel and this made him wish to humiliate his own person. and so on ad infinitum. b u t talked in short. deep.” From the scanty fragmeiv that have been preserved. and very earl. tion. and it determ ined his theory m uch m ore deeph than the Eleatic doctrine. His was the second main influence w hich Empe­ docles received. he did not bother to develop his arg ments. Howevef . earned the nickname of “the obscure. thus be­ com ing a new thesis to be later overturned by a new contradic. H e despised the great mass of mankind: “one ii to me w o rth ten thousand. inverting the logical process anî deliberately asserting contradictory statements. however. em bodying the meet ing and m erging of logical opposites.” H e believed in no salvation or expia­ tion of sin. except b y a restoration at the final conflagratioi through Dike. This was probabl. A lthough the Iavd of the universe is “com m on”— that is. and then merges w ith it to produce a higher synthesis. w hen Dike “will judge all” . » Dialectics in the Hegelian sense.Empedocles could not have come into direct contact w ith Hera clitus. pithy apothegms. for the sake of w hich (in this alone like Empedocles) h had resigned a kingship in favor of his brother. if only they have enough sense to become aw a| of it— each individual thinks he has a mind of his own. did not consider time as the element ofi such a development. w hen the worl will go Up in flames from w hich perhaps a new universe wil emerge.

” Not only are the apparent opposites one and the same thing—“the way up and the w ay dow n is the same”— bu t the radical changes from life to death. O n the contrary. “the harm ony w hich results from opposites is better than any other” and “the harm ony w hich is not perceptible b y the senses is better than the obvious harm ony. 53) But over the w ar and the clash of opposites presides the universal Reason. realizing that it w ould have to last a long time. fr. and ate it w ith­ out words in view of everyone. from sleep to waking. T here is no real identity of things or of persons: “You cannot bathe tw ice in the same river. not. and T h o u g h t— the Logos. continued to live luxuriously. w ith zest and fana­ ticism. while people are w ithout wisdom. and the apparent differences are identical. fo o d was rationed to the bare necessities. and the Ephesians. fr. unite in the Logos while . he came to the public a ssem b ly w ith a b o w l of flour mixed w ith w ater.91 ) T h e apparent identities are in reality different. O n the other hand tw o moments of the same process are totally different. T he lesson was taken to heart. 1. b u t Heraclitus advanced. for while Ephesus was besieged by the Persians. 22B.r Contem poraries 33 he was not devoid of public spirit.” All “becom ­ ing” originates in the clash of opposites. common. on the tw o occasions. They do not understand w hat they do in w aking life. Heraclitus claims that he alone knew and and could explain “the nature of everything and telling how each thing is.” (D K 22 B. This is “com m on” in the sense th at it exists in and permeates all phenomena.” (D K .2) Also. H e scoffed at the distinctions made b y philosophers and b y quasi-philosophers like Hesiod. fr. “who did not even know that N ight and D ay are the same thing. and “w ar is the father of all things. and the Persians raised the siege. as they are unconscious of w hat they (do) in sleep” . though threatened b y shortage 0f food. because it is a universal language. to all men.” (D K 22B. b oth before hearing the tru th and after they have heard it. the reality of change. Cause. yet arrogantly composed a cosmogony. and a p roduct of life in society. and “while the Logos is common. both it and yourself will be different. as interpreted by some m odern commentators. the mass of mortals live as if they had a m ind of their own. The Eleatics preached the absolute im m obility and im m utability of the real w orld.

“running through each other! take on various form s and shapes. Dionysos to him is not the god of resurrection. even the goda are transitory expressions.the apparent things “give an account and take revenge on eadf other according to the eternal Dike. the Eleatic doctrine and the Heracliteal change. whila . but is identical w ith Hades. beasts and planets. 28. Empedocles did no t adopt H eraclitus’ teaching wholesale. w hich offered no pros! pect of any deeper understanding w ith its negation of all movèj m ent. These tw o influences. fr. Empedocles m ust have conceives his original picture of the universe. w hich united change witg eternity. so m uch does the m ixturi change them ” . H e considered all such phenomena as appeafl ances belonging to the w orld of “opinion. the realm of Deatll H eraclitus reached to the outerm ost limits of the mind.60) These paradoxes are no t inspirations of an enthusiastic momenf Heraclitus abhors and ridicules the manic cults: the smearing witj blood to atone fo r bloodshed. before he was invited to . th ey are eternally and forever the same. T h e problem is often raised of how Heraclitus could hav| exerted such a deep-going influence upon Empedocles. This m om ent must have coml to him in early m aturity. A t a certain m om ent of his life after pondering on these things long and “w ith true intent* as he advises his disciple to do. F or he m ust already have become w e ll know n as a philosopher. 7m In the place of dead immobility. m ay be considered as the tw o m ajor influences apparent in Empedocles’ first w ork: O n N ature. wherl ideas inebriate. all change. Ill brought into it considerable innovations of his own. the sun.” hence essentially til non-being. (D K 3IB. His elements. T h e H eraclitean teaching w renched and liberated Empedoclei from the sterile repetition of the Eleatics.” (D K 22B. w here insight makes one mad. variety w ith immutability. fr.Thurii aiiffl before Anaxagoras and Zeno— both a few years younger thäfi himself— w rote treatises in explanation of his system. he proclaims the cosmic cycle! in w hich the earth. and probablv thought that he could ultim ately reconcile the tw o doctrines in :j superior synthesis. of w hich nothing can be said. b u t so far as they periodically return to the sanil pattern. men.

Its austerity of life and strict moral code. The Pythagorean School.C. and that his school flourished for nearly fo rty years. though no special study has yet been made of the subject. and after that it disappeared. Ideas w ere then not dead signs on paper. w ho had taken control of the island. and setting them to w ork.. W hether he had visited E gypt and became acquainted w ith Egyptian and other eastern religions on the way. led by .” w ere easily rem em bered because of their sharp insight and their pithy expressions.' Contemporaries 35 separated from him geographically. fleeing the rule of the ty ran t Polycrates. first established at Croton. but. a native of Samos. and cultural traffic betw een the tw o ends of the Greek world. H eraclitus’ w ork em­ bodied diffuse ideas from the older philosophies of the East. T h e doctrines of Heraclitus.C. although famous for their “obscurity. but live forces. and politically. It seems that Pythagoras. F urther. as well as its acceptance of male and female disciples from all G reek races— and even from the barbarians— w ent against the customs and prejudices of the time. came to South Italy around 540 B. exercised a strong attraction for many circles in G reater Greece. allegedly a student of the Platonic Academy. W e tend to minimize the extent of com m er­ cial. it is clear that his doctrine was already fully developed in his mind. and the completed w ork of Heraclitus never saw the light of day. from w hence it was later stolen by a certain Crates. almost complete chaos reigns as to the chronol­ ogy of Pythagoras himself and of his main disciples. Its period of greatness maybe dated w ith some accuracy between 504 and 501 B. But this difficulty of contact really presents no problem. T he Pythagorean school in Southern Italy. H ow ever. The Persian Em pire extended to E gypt on the South. T h e story that political opponents. and to the bor­ ders of India on the East.. social. is not certain. racially. apart from that. Refugees from the numerous islands of the Aegean and from the shores of Asia M inor flocked continuously to the new cities of G reater Greece. percolating through the minds of men. Heraclitus had taken the precaution of depositing his w ork in the temple of Artemis at Ephesus. T here are no records of any direct contact betw een the tw o men.

“Generations” mu·. Am ong those w ith w hom his na has been associated w ere Telauges (the son of Pythagoras) an Philolaos. w hich show that Empedocles came under the influenc of the Pythagorean doctrine only in his m aturity. Aftèr their disclosures. w ith a sort of excommunication pu into effect for any disciples w ho disclosed any of the secret o esoteric tenets of the theory. the rep o rt continues. Philolaos cannot have belongel to th at generation that heard Pythagoras himself teach. Pytha­ goras himself disappears com pletely from the scene. T he discipliti was that of a religious order. A nother incredible story purports th at Philolaos w ent i Thebes to perform the funeral rites fo r Lysis. A fter the date of the burning. m ust hav been considerably older than Empedocles. from the inner evidence of the Empedoclea fragments. Telauges even if assumed to be a child of Pythagoras’ old age. bu t the sto th at only tw o escaped because of their youth and nimbleness. V III). if he was in fact connected w ith the Pythagorea] school.36 the oligarch Kylon. Philolaos is alsf an enigmatic figure.-" highly improbable in view of the wide proliferation of the Pytlr' gorean doctrine and the m aintenance of its unity and coherent for some eight to ten generations of scholars. Empedocles. fr. doctrine. w ho had been bot his teacher and the teacher of Epaminondas. (F G H . here be taken as scholarly generations. it was forbidden to com m unicate the innerm ost secrets to the outer circle of ad her ents. Philolaos and Empe docles w ere the first to divulge the secrets of the Pythagorea. IIA 8) If so. A ccording to Neanthes. burned dow n the building w ithin w hich mo of the adepts w ere gathered m ay possibly be true. state1 that Empedocles in his youth was the beloved either of Parmenidi or of Telauges. reflecting that new groujj of adepts joined the school every ten or fifteen years. though If was not in the building at the time but had gone to Metapontiuni T h e legendary elements that have surrounded his name ever sine lie outside our subject. the T heban genera . Telauges is further u likely as an influence. w ho lived nearly a thoü sand years after the events w e are trying to reconstruct. T h e Neoplatonist Porphyry. the son of Pythagoras (N P . must have know n men of the second or even the thir generation of Pythagoreans.

F or he had a school. hence of the im m ortality of the individual soul. m ay have been due to the secret geometrical formulas of the Pythagoreans. makes Plato’s responsibility still heavier fo r the loss of the Pythagorean w ritten tradition. after his fiftieth year. w ho must have been more or less a contem porary of Empedocles.Contemporaries 37 of the first half of the 4th century B. and could have set some of his disciples to copy the Pythagorean books as well as his own. Empedocles does not seem to have been interested at all in the mathematical side of the doctrine. for there is no trace of such things in his first work. .. the disciples confessed w hatever they had done that they ought not to have done. A t the end of each day. Eastern beliefs in the transm igration of the soul.C. bought from the aging and destitute Philolaos the three secret books of Pythagoras for a com paratively m oderate sum. The Pythagorean doctrine was a strange but vital amalgam of scientific mathematics. during his second stay in Syracuse at the co u rt of the tyrant Dionysius the Y ounger in 367 B. O n Nature. architects. and w hatever they had om itted to do that they ought to have done. This story. it cannot have happened during his first journey in 388 B. townplanners. until then practically unknow n to the G reek m entality. if true. It is absolutely impossible that philolaos. F or technical reasons w hich it would take too long to relate here. A still m ore fantastic story tells how Plato. I have ventured else­ where to suggest th at the perfection of the acoustics in the great theatres of the 5th and 4th centuries B. All this must have been absorbed during Empedocles’ late m aturity. H e also adopted the deeper notion of sin.C. w hich are so fully pre­ served. etc. But he adopted the m etaphysical theory of the transm igration of souls. T h e school produced m any genera­ tions of scientists and technicians of all sorts: mathematicians. physicians. or that he should have heard Pythagoras himself lecture.C. could have been alive at either of these dates. M ore credible is the rep o rt th at Plato bought the books from surviving relatives of Philolaos. a dose of asceticism and various taboos.C. as well as from beans etc. w hich exercised a strong influence on Plato. and also part of the taboos— forbearance from meat and bloody sacrifice.

(DK 3lB fr.38 Contemporaris. that the influence of tfi| Eleatic Parmenides was the first. easier than ten men in twenty lives. His “one universe” is very different from that 0 J[ Parmenides. linking! Elea w ith Croton or w ith M etapontium or w hatever other cente| the Pythagoreans established as their headquarters after the del . For when that man would tense his whole intellectual power. and the least potent. causing a conversion of thought and feeling. Heraclitean.developm ent and he seems to have extracted from each w hatever suited his owff conception. his “eternal return” very different from that of H e ra clitus. Reversing the chronôa logical order of the emergence of these doctrines. and P yth ag o reJ schools of thought all contributed to Empedocles’ . who knew more than any one and possessed the largest wealth of intellectual power. Last came the Pythagorean doctrines. to the Pythagorean tran J m igration of souls is again something quite different from th l four lives w hich Pythagoras is said to have remembered. T he Eleatic. w hich exercised a m uch m ore decisive influence that remained w ith him throughout his life. betw een whose side|| Empedocles’ thought weaved its pattern. thougf diffuse and less easily detectible b y quotation of chapter an! verse. 12) T h e triangle of these three influences has a narrow base. he could easily see each one of the totality of things. in w hich hf tried v ery hard to salvage parts of his earlier bu t m ature w ork! O n N ature. we m ust accepta on the internal evidence of his w ork. almost triumphi antly.. Empedoclei next received the “effluvia. H e saw the huma™ soul in dire trouble and in need of direction. Able most of all to perform all kinds of wise actions. in a kind of illuminaS tion. These three original sources of knowledge. late in life. His adm iration for Pythagoras is expressed in a few line w hich m ight well serve as a fitting epitaph for that great man: There was one man among them. A new tu rn was given to his mind.” as he m ight have put it. T h e Triangle. and his conversion. attitude of mindl and ideas m ay be pictured as a triangle. It was after this thfi he composed the Purifications and it was this new faith th l| enabled him to go and meet his own death calmly. from tlf| H eraclitean teaching.

M odern thought still seems to strive in vain for a new train of ideas. one w orld. pantheism and monotheism. and striking. T here is hardly a theory or a system th at is not at least hinted at: monism. It is as if the early Greeks sketched out the boundaries w ithin which the human m ind can function and w ork. coherent. . Babylon. a new direction in which to lead its aspirations. Empedocles took a great deal from his three great predecessors bu t produced a “m ixture” peculiar to himself: a system original. man as the center of the w orld and man as an inconspicuous creature doomed to dissolution like all other form s of life. the triangle being open tow ard the east to admit of still rem oter influences from the p u rer and m ore single-minded devotion of the Indians to abstract contem plation and an austere life. etc. These are the categories within w hich philosophical speculation was to move through the ages. T h e so-called pre-Socratics in fact prepared a sort of blueprint of m odern European philosophy. Like his elements. extreme materialism and absolute idealism. and other oriental sources.r Contemporaries 39 s t r u c t i o n of their original school. or m any living unknow n to each other. w hich change their appearance w hen they enter into different mixtures. T his is exactly w hat the Greeks as a whole did w ith all the elements they borrowed from the wisdom of Egypt. Perhaps they never quite met. divinity as the all-powerful dom inion over nature and as a creation of human inventiveness. etc. T h e tw o other m uch longer sides of the triangle converge at a very acute angle on the far­ away city of Ephesus. dualism and pluralism.

IIB 228 fr. and Democritus. and because if things are de­ prived of all moisture they shrivel up and die. He was greatly admired by Hero* dotus.4. and in guiding its politics away from med­ dling in the quarrel between the Lydians and the Persians. He took an active part in constructing the forti­ fications of his city. If this had been adopted. PHYSICS AND METAPHYSICS Empedocles. He also is said to have written a work on “nautical astrology. Born in 6 8 6 B.C.” a guide to navigation by the stars. To him are attributed many scientific dis coveries: he is said to have discovered the Little Bear and t' Tropics and the solstices. he maintained that the basic stuff out 0] which all things originate was water or moisture. Hera­ clitus. He is credited with a Phoenician mother. Aristotle explanation is that Thales was led to this view because of tiji liquid nature of all animal semen. 6 8 B fr. as we have seen. is considered a “pluralist” in thi he does not assume one primeval stuff to be at the root of all things as did the three great Milesians in the century before him. resulted in Miletus being spared after the Persian victory. I 74/75. Xenophanes (who scoffed at nearly everyone else). 58. DÊ 2 IB fr. descended from the roy| house of Kadmos. as well as to have fixed the year’s lengtH at 365 days. HE. Thi. (FGH. 19. Thales had a wiäl range of interests. 1 . Thales was proclaimed one of the Seven Sages in 582. 2 2 B fr. 115a) 40 . His prediction of an eclipse in the reign of King Darius is precisely dated by modern astronomy. Tljg first of these was Thales. much confusion would havi been avoided between the calendars of the various peoples (evélî of the various cities).

then the earth and stones and metals. W e saw how Parmenides insisted that the world was immensely large. the rain (water).. (DOX. which decayed according to the law of time. and a continuous becoming and decaying of every such world. for he maintained that the parts of the universe are in constant movement. oceans and cities of the world could be pictured on a plane surface represented a daring innovation. 476) From it were formed the sky and many universes. He pro­ claimed that the earth was round. one of the more reliable commen­ tators. He is reported to have made the first map of the then known terrestrial world. Pythagoras identified the “indefinite dyad” with all that was to be avoided. when reporting the above. but finite. . Anaximander seems to have accepted this indefiniteness.physics and M etaphysics 41 Thales’ successor. Simplicius. and its parts act on each other. The leap into the abstract was too great. although keeping the notion of the Infinite. He taught that it was air that. Anaximander’s leap from a tangible and visible substance (water) to an abstract Infinite was shunned by most later Greek philoso­ phers. Traces of this theory will be found in Empedocles’ views. though in a different form. independent of each other. which was later to be confirmed by the historian and great traveler Hecataeus as well as by Herodotus. yet the whole remains immobile. took a great leap forward in considering that the basic stuff of all natural things was not a material element (water) but an abstract idea (the Infinite) out of which all things originate. it becomes impossible to establish strict laws governing the particular phenomena. If the world is infinite. Hence he posited infinitely many worlds. Anaximenes. Anaximander. creates the clouds. lying in the middle of the universe.C. but to conceive that the three-dimensional mountains. adds that Anaximander was the first to coin the word “infinite” (apeiron). who died about 545 B. all of which finally return to it by rarefaction. whose nature was different from that of water or any other matter. This may seem to us a simple matter. reverted to the idea of a primeval “stuff” that had a remote con­ nection with sense perception: air. Anaximander’s succes­ sor. and how Empedocles repeated this assertion with a weaker voice. by condensation and rarefaction.

limited and in movement. maintains that it was Empedocles who added to the threl already known elements— water. though he had no apparent connection with the Milesiaf school. Xenophanes. Anax® menes was also credited with many discoveries. 984a). 475) are explicit on this point. (AMP I. IX. relying ol Theophrastus’ Physical O pinions (DOX. 475). so it is with fire. . However.” In this respect Heraclitus is very near modern astro! nomy. adding that they had both acquired it from Egypt. . and it is at time: difficult to discriminate which of them should be attributed tg which Milesian. “Hipf ponicos of Metapontium (probably Pythagorean) also believell the origin of all things to be one. 90) Fire ill however. a i i made fire the beginning of all things .42 Physics and M e ta p h y Æ The chief characteristic of the three Milesians was that thel were all monists. In a sense. according to Diogenes Laertius. 3. Heraclitus. Simplicius concurs. Both Aristotle (AMP. T h e Elements. Fire was for him the beginninfj and the end of everything: “as all things are exchanged for gold· and gold for all things. the near-centenarian from Kolophoffl seems to have been the first to put forward a theory of the foiffl elements. and reduced all phenomena to transformation! of one material underlying all things. earth. and they made all thing! end in fire. Empedocles continue™ their tradition. a i that they believed the four elements were originally merged in one primeval stuff— “matter”— and were later separated from i| . both a stuff and a process. whose home at Ephesus lay not very far from Mill! tus. and disregarding the Infinite of Anax imander. the theorg actually stems from further back in time (DL. basing himself on the traditions of thl Milesians and of Heraclitus. although. may also be called a monist. That they were searchers into natura phenomena is beyond doubt. VIII. air. I. ijjl 98a) and Simplicius (DOX. which explains the formation of stars by explosions. and fire— the most palpahlj of all. 2 2 B fr.” (DK. He states that it was held by Manethos as well as by the historif| Hecataeus. 19. Not a single genuine quotation has come down to us from anl of the great Milesians. Aristotle. as a| ready noted.

and he abhorred the idea of an infinite constitution of the universe with many universes coming into being and perishing unknown and unknowable to one another. Aristotle’s own world was bounded by the Sophists. The periods may be very long. to the idea of the infinite.” the “stoicheion” having in all probability been coined by Aristotle. The state of the world is in perpetual flux. the Eristics of Megara. or light. or the oceans. which ren­ ders all things indefinite. who made time one of the three primeval and eternal forces that existed before the gods. Empedocles swings from the Eleatic conception of a finite. length of time is irrelevant. and the various off-shoots of the Socratic method. since he repeat­ edly stresses that.” The only immortal and indestructible things are in reality the four elements. the Cynics. though immensely large.fhysics and M etaphysics 43 Among many of the older pre-Socratic philosophers. from nothing. universe. he comes down on the side of the finite quantity of the stuff of the Universe. The coming into being and the dissolving into the primeval elements is continuous in Empedocles’ view. and that nothing really perishes. but. since the same conditions return periodically. nothing can be born. Pherekydes is considered by some scholiasts as Pythagoras’ teacher. But then again. now another. and they date his “floruit” as . Though the distance in time between Empedocles and Aristotle was a little more than a century. they were all concerned with prob­ lems similar to his own. except for one or two fragments testifying to the contrary. taking now one form. Empedocles does not call them “elements. other between ether and air. and others. the work of all the pre-Socratics seem ed to Aristotle to belong to an entirely different era from his own. though mortals consider the dissolution of things and creatures as “dire death. there is controversy or rather doubt whether there were four or five elements: some differentiate between fire and ether. Although he refutes all of them on certain points. It never ends. it is perpetually the same. in view of eternity. Empedocles calls them “roots” (rizomata). the Platonic school. It is not clear whether Empedocles knew of Pherekydes’ theory. which also suffers periodic destruction and recreation. On the whole.

who in mythology is the ruler d the Netherworld. But let us first consider the fragment in which the word “rizti mata” occurs: Of the roots of all things hear me first speak: Zeus the white splendour. as ϋ κ shall see. the source of light and fire. 8)* Much controversy has been caused by this fragment: Whethe' Zeus means fire. whether Hera is the earth or the a ir * and what does Aidoneus really stand for? In my opinion. whose tears bedew mortality.C. by mixing with each othe produce all things and all creatures. for it leads to confusion. though it has no light of its own. Thoughtless men call this disappearand death. also his forces with names of gods and other myth logical beings is unfortunate. Some traditions give this realm to Dionysus bu according to Heraclitus. Zetf certainly represents the sun. Empedocle lays stress on the mental short-sightedness of men. (DK. 2lB fr. Nestis wa a local Sicilian deity of rivers and springs later worshipped as th goddess of sobriety. < This habit of Empedocles to designate his elements and. and Nestis. and that Aidoneus is the air. Hera carrying life. stood nothing of the real essence of the world. and Aidoneus. as on many others.44 Physics and M etaphysi 540 B. whose srnäj existence is ephemeral. It w probably fragments such as this that caused Aristotle to remai that Empedocles is “Homeric” because he uses metaphor and I *1 borrow the expression “whose tears bedew mortality” from Leonard translation of the fragments of Empedocles.” Hippo! tus (according to Plutarch) gives an ingenious interpretation: th * Nestis is the water. they are one and same deity. and who perish miserably. and they lament or rejoig accordingly. which carries or supports all life.C. having under'. On this occasion. which carries and dissolves food though it do not nourish. through which we se everything. H erU cannot but be the earth. the latter are all transient aii doomed to disappear. It is one of his happy phrasing . Her name means literally “fasting. or the ether. and their coming together birth. Empedocli considers that as the four elements. If sö only air remains for Aidoneus.. while others push his birth back to 600 B.

at times one alone comes into being. Double is the birth of mortal things and double their demise. (ADP. 70) However. (DK. I think it may be inter­ preted as follows: in the initial or the final period of the cosmic cycle— which of the two is irrelevant. I such passages merely quasi-poetic. 34-35) A sign of the confusion that set in very early in the interpreta­ tion of the pre-Socratics is the fact that Aristotle. (DK. while other passages that speak of the elements. iv. at other times. 17. (AGC. whose b eg in n in g with its stress on apparently contradictory statements rem inds us of Heraclitus: c o n s id e r I shall speak a double truth. yet are for ever and ever the same. but how Aristotle could confuse the two is difficult to understand. fr. lumping earth. 3IB fr. 985a 25) There is not a trace of such a view in the existing fragments. and separation nurtured in their being makes them fly apart. 3lB fr. 17. out of one several things grow.1. and the root of most of its misinterpretations. AMP. 1-6) and further down in the same fragment: They (elements) are for ever themselves. but running through each other they become at times different. since it comes round again . I. and the process using their p ro p er terms and names are real poetry. These things never stop changing throughout. for example.physics and M etaphysics 45 the other devices of the poetic art. the follow­ ing lines from the very important and longest fragment. from which they originate and to which they return. air. adds that Empedocles reduced them to two. The verse “double is the birth of mortal things and double their demise” is of the essence of Empedocles’ whole theory. nor in the writings of any other com­ mentators. 1. For the coming together of all both causes their birth and destroys them. 330b 20. after mentioning the four elements. The statement may be due to a confusion with Hera­ clitus. the forces. and water together and contrasting them with fire.

Dispersion may therefore mean either the end of thj initial union and the beginning of creation. and when they are reunited into i| they die as separate existences. But it is also death in comparison to the perfect peace a3 contentment of the Sphairos. 2 ). or the death of 1 particular living being. after a long process of mol strous creation and chaos. but boasting each that they have seen the whole (truth). and a fittirffl combination of certain elements in proper proportions will consta tute their birth. first cause and the concept of the good. 3IB fr. Having seen in their life only a small part of the whole. and the dispersion of their particular combination m elements will mean their death. For: Many ills penetrate through them into their minds and blunt their wits. (DK. quick death overtakes them and rising into the air they fly away like smoke. etc. Correspondingly. The interpretation of pre-Socratic philosophy by the later con mentators is throughout bedeviled by the prevalence of ArisJ totelian and Platonic notions of essence and attributes. the wrenchiig out of the perfect amalgam of certain elements and their combina tion into various forms of being is like death.46 Physics and M etaphy ^ | and again— living beings come to life.— is also death for the individual being. whicf Empedocles pictures very vividly and horrifically in another pars of his work. Thus dispersion of the original unity may mean birth to particula creatures. being aware only of what each man happens to have crossed upon. oft«! identified with God or the first cause. Thus the One become Necessity and elements are its matter. unity and amalgamation m all the elements will mean death to particular beings. Human beings do not realize this basff truth. Again. but their dissolution and their return to their “kindred” elements— air to air. but may result in a period of disorder and chaos. This dispersioff does not necessarily result in the perfect amalgamation of all tfi elements. In any case they are a separation frof the Sphairos— the perfect amalgam of all— and their creation^ birth. and Love and Strife (Empéi . fire tfj fire. driven hither and thither. fron (ideas) and matter.

as we say. water. and earth— “mix” in various proportions. or Empedocles. producing new beings and mortal creatures. the creature.. the earth we tread.17). the sunlight we see. air (incidentally Empedocles often calls the air ether. (Cf. Let it be noted that Empedocles speaks of the elements on three levels: (a) when he calls them by name. this is difficult for men to grasp: There is no man so wise that he could guess in his mind. in DOX. dry and humid” says Stobaeus. (DK. nothing at all. “In addition to these (the elements) there is nothing which either comes into being or perishes and ends. hot and cold. 35 1. dies but the elements themselves are not destroyed. the air we breathe.' physics and M etaphysics 3 ocles’ 47 two forces) becoming their forms or prototypes.) Stobaeus falls back on opposing qualities that are really relative— differen­ tiated only in degree— and hence little cited by any of the great pre-Socratics. and are. not the elements proper.” (DK. 15) . I. 303. Aetius. or they enter into new combinations. Either they return to the mass of their homogeneous elements.28. air. Heraclitus. yet for ever and ever the same. 17) Mortal creatures disappear when the elements separate. 3IB fr. fire. they were. as earth. No. . but they are not two distinct elements). “The nature of the elements is composed of op­ posites. It is essential to distinguish between these three meanings to arrive at a clear idea of the significance of any particular fragment. they are themselves and. . (c) in a mythological and symbolic way. D e Placitis Philosophorum . One should rid oneself of all such notions to begin to understand Parmenides. running through each other. they become at times different. . and it depends on their mutual proportions what sort of thing or creature will result. “running through each other”. Thus these four elements— fire. 7. etc. (CW. When the elements separate again. But before (the elements) adhered together and after they have separated. (b) when by these same words he means. I. that while they live— what they call life— there happen to them things good and bad. 3lB fr. but their visible and common counterparts.

and men and women. mix them harmoniously.From these grow all things that ever were and are and will be: Trees. too. The elements do not seem to Empedocles sufficient to account for the unceasing change of visible things. but running through each other. men well-versed in their art. as well as the long-lived gods. They are Love (other names for which are Amity. long-lived. there a little less. 23) > 'J T h e Forces. and even gods. they take on various forms and shapes. because they. (DK. and birds and beasts. So much does the mixture change them. Harmony. as th mythological name of the elements do. these changes were ordained by two contrasting force ceaselessly at war with each other. however many are apparent to sense. wild beasts and birds and fish nurtured in water. having kneaded many-hued substances in their hands. 3lB fr. (DK. 2 1 ) And the well-known fragment of the painters: As when painters. and the fish nourished in salty water. and from these create forms that resemble all things. here a little more. For they (the elements) are always themselves. In Empedodes" view. Kypris) and Stnf or Hatred (Neikos). intending to adorn votive offerings. He considered the elements as more ol less inert in themselves and not the agents of the continuous ming­ ling and separation to which they were subjected. Chang: constitutes our world. honored above all. knowledgeable by the force of their mind. without it we could not imagine either tiff world or our own being. Aphrodite. 3IB fr. ar . Thus let not deceit mislead thy mind and show thee that from elsewhere in the source of all mortal things. Their various names add to the poetical atmosphere of his verses and do not lead to confusion. and men and women. raising up trees and buildings. honored above all. The forces cannot be takç as personal causes directing the world.

60) Many creatures with faces fore and aft. floods. But Amity. (DK. retaining them only as ornamental details on the corners of roofs and such places. and eyes bereft of a forehead. 3 IB. . isolated limbs roaming about. creatures with a double face. (DK. and naked arms wandered about without supporting shoulders. arms without supporting shoulders. Empedocles was influenced by mythological representations from Oriental peoples as well as from Greece itself. and when it infiltrates into the perfectly amalgamated union 0f all the elements in the Sphairos. Strife creates havoc. griffons. . Strife produces a vortex-like movement which disperses the elements in all directions.physics and M etaphysics su b je c t 49 to the law of the cosmic cycle. oxen with human brows and conversely men with bovine heads and creatures mixed male and female. All these were the results of Strife’s supremacy. unnatural shapes and events originate. and breasts both ways. (DK. whose description by Empedocles is detailed and horrific— monsters with men’s bodies and bovine heads. harpies. From that dispersion. with deep-seated sexual organs. (creature) with trailing feet and countless hands . and many other queer combina­ tions. fr.— remind us that the pres­ ent species in the world are not the only ones ever created. Strife is also the cause of unnatural living creatures. They had by then become innocuous. Archaic Greek art is full of gorgons. and other such images. 61) It is probable that in painting these pictures. But the very real monsters which populated our earth before man appeared— pterodactyls etc. 57) . Some fragments illustrate Empedocles’ power of imagina­ tion in picturing the horrible as vividly as the harmonious: in which many a head grew without a neck. looking both fore and aft. and crumbling of moun­ tains. or . As part of Empedocles’ biology. . eyes without a forehead over them. worse still. or the other way around. . 31B fr. probably deluges and eruptions of volcanos. 3lB fr. these creatures represent a stage in physical evolution. en­ mity. It was not until the end of the 5th century that Greek art gradually emancipated itself from such images.

changing their ways. . But he describes how gradual j the conquest of Amity over Strife. 25) The two forced are not on the same level as the four elements but can be bes understood in the analogy of positive and negative electricity. (AMP. the poet. while Strife brings together. and compact those previously unmixed. away from the centr to the outer edges . 985a. but in some limbs still remained fast while from others it had already gone. And all of a sudden they became mortal. a’ s'Empe­ docles does) pushes Strife. he says. against: whose disorders she h to fight her way inch by inch From their mixture. so far could there enter the pure onrush of mild-minded Amity. conceived as in 19th century physics. Present-daj* physics makes no distinction between matter and energy.of the world. a wonder to behold. well-knit together. As it ran under and went away. (DK. 35) : As Strife is pushed aside and made to withdraw to the outeredges of the cosmos. Plutarch (PQC. 4. just a § *The word rendered by “compact” gave rise in Alexandrine and Romafi times to lively controversy. those previously wont to be immortal.1. uses the word in the meaning of well-mixed. thousands of mortal creatures poured out. 3lB fr. She (let us use the feminine. AlthougH I have accepted the use of the word “compact” in accordance with the m os' authoritative translations.50 Physics and M etaphysik Harmony was also at work. 3lB fr. yet still remained unmixed while Strife still held hovering aloft. oi as forces of attraction and repulsion acting on the molecules of the elements." meaning lively. (DK. . I - . v. iv. I. or Dissention. 677D) mentions thäj Sosicles. Strife often divides and Amity often separates. 35)* That Aristotle saw the function of Empedocles’ forces in part correctly is shown by his remark intended as adverse criticism: “For. came into being. Thus myriads of forms. For Strife did not at once retreat to the outer edges of the circle. I suggest very tentatively that the word “zora’ may be a poetic shortening of a word still current in modern Greek: “zocra.

In accepting this criticism. 312. which may well be right. Instead. 3IB fr. 315) These were essen­ tially of the same quality. we make Empedocles the forerunner of chemical union. Hatred throws them about without . and of the latter. for he introduces examples of tin mixing with copper (DK. 3IB fr. according to Hipollytus. which would result in an ordered stratifica­ tion of the elements.” (DK. In two fragments he seems to think of them like this. It is not quite clear whether Empedocles conceived the elements a S continuous. undifferentiated from each other (by which he presumably meant that one particle of water is exactly like any other particle of water.26 et al.7 ) He compares Empedocles’ conception to the pounding together of different kinds of stone and metal until they become a kind of paste from which one can no more separate the various ingredients. Empedocles held that the forces of Love and Hate alternate in predominating over the world. 17.). 92) and of flax mixing with the “silvery elder’s seed. to make one out of many. as already stated. that the elements ran through each other. probably inspired by that criti­ cism. air. 3IB fr. the same holding for the particles of earth. (CMG. Hatred does not simply separate the world into its four constituent elements. on the expression “running through each other.physics and M etaphysics · 51 Heraclitus did not differentiate fire from the things it consumes. without order or design. homogeneous stuff. says that Empedocles and Xenophanes both regard the ele­ ments as composed of smaller constituent parts which one could call “elements of elements. 82) Part of Empedocles’ con­ troversy with the Hippocratean school of medicine centred on this point. saying that Hippocrates did not accept.) Galen. and the mixture con­ sisted in their lying close together. The tendency of the former was to unite. each joining with its own. 19. while Hippocrates held that the molecules of the elements maintained their impermeability. We digress. as water is with earth to make mud.21.” (DOX. objected to this view. etc. which can be melted with another. in thick clusters of hetero­ genous particles. like Empedocles. that is. as against the mechanistic view. Aëtius. and leading to complete immobility.” (DK. to disperse things in all directions.


Physics and M etaphysik

any order, producing in the process monstrous creatures unabljj to survive. These monstrous creations are slowly eliminated as Amity gains the upper hand at the “appointed time.” Appointed by whom, or what? Empedocles seems to believe in an ineluctable, eternal decree of Fate or Necessity, in a supreme Law that is above the elements, above the forces, above the gods. This decre^ of Fate “bound by the most solemn oaths” is explicitly mentioned in a fragment from his second work, T h e Purifications (DK, 3IB fr. 115), but analogous expressions, “when the circle comes round,” or “when time returns,” and others such, abound in the fragments of the first work, O n N ature. They seem to show tha the alternate ruling of Amity and Strife does not depend on the two forces themselves— “Amity abhors Necessity hard to bear” (DK, 3IB fr. 116)— But on another force they are obliged to obey. It cannot be maintained with certainty that Necessity acts nie^ chanically but its actions are certainly not ordained by the gods who, throughout Empedocles’ first work, are “long-lived, hon­ oured above all” but not eternal.
T h e Sphairos. Each of Empedocles’ cosmic cycles has a single supreme period. This is the Sphairos, the apex of perfection, the absolute fulfilment with no distinction of qualities, no separate creatures, no personality, no becoming and decaying. All the ele­ ments are merged in the Sphairos in a state of absolute equilibrium. It is immense, equal all around but not limitless, though one frag­ ment calls it “infinite on all sides.” The Sphairos can only be negatively defined. It has no limits and no sensation or feelingunless it be the sense of itself “exultant in surrounding solitude.”! It is a supreme achievement of Empedocles’ philosophic insight and poetic power that he manages to convey this metaphysical conception as indicating intense satisfaction and giving an impres­ sion that it would indeed be a fulfilment to be merged in some, thing like the Sphairos. The idea of the world as an immensely large but not infinite *The expression “exultant in surrounding solitude” is taken from W.E. Leonard’s translation of fragments 27 and 28.

physics and M etaphysics



sphere was already current in many philosophical schools. Xeno­ phanes had defined the divine as a sphere, separate yet coexisting with the perceptible world. Parmenides conceived the world as an immobile sphere, since for him all movement was a deception of the senses:
Since there is an outer limit, it (the One) is completed, on all sides, similar in extent, at the same distance from the center. It cannot grow either larger or smaller, or this way and that. (DK, 28B fr. 8)

This world cannot be experienced with the senses: it is the world and it is there all the time. The difference is that, for Empedocles, the Sphairos represents a stage in the cosmic cycle. It will be destroyed and re-created again and again:
In it were not to be seen the swift limbs of the sun nor the earth’s dense vegetation; nor yet the sea. So much was the Sphairos firmly embedded within the secret compactness of harmony, spherical all around, exultant in surrounding solitude. (DK, 3lB fr. 27)

But he, on all sides equal and altogether infinite, the rounded Sphairos, exultant in surrounding solitude. (DK, 3IB fr. 28)

A few lines earlier, he gives a negative definition:
There is no faction or unjust strife in its limbs. (DK, 31B fr. 27)

Another fragment, shortly after, shows that the expression “limbs” was wrong:
From its back no twin branching arms are swinging; it has no feet or swift-moving knees, or sexual organ shaggy, It is a sphere, on all sides equal unto itself. (DK, 3lB fr. 29)

Meanwhile, the state of mind of mortals is contemptible, puny,


Physics and M eta p h ysii

unable to conceive what really is; a will-of-the-wisp, dependent on the chance agglomeration of some particles of the elements, The contrast to the condition of the Sphairos, which, they cannol understand, is expressive of despair, and yet at the same tixnê Empedocles exults, because he alone is able to conceive and accept an understanding of the universe. Mortals emerge only when the perfect balance of the Sphairo is destroyed by Strife. They are pitiable, short-lived, with dinf minds and perceptions, steeped in error. Numerous passages refe to the mortal’s miserable lot. Even Empedocles’ chosen follower, Pausanias, will be able to learn no more of the things that cati be neither seen nor heard than human mind can grasp:
These things can be neither seen, nor heard, nor conceived by the mind. But thou, since thou has wandered hither, shalt learn, yet no more than human intellect can reach.

(DK, .5115 fr. 2 ) Since the Sphairos represents the final stage of each cosmi cycle (which also constitutes the initial phase of the following one) personal immortality is out of the question. One fragmenj explicitly denies survival after death or existence before birth:
But before (the elements) adhered together, and after they have separated, they were, and are, nothing at all. (DK, 3IB fr. 15)

Men are on a par with all other creatures. They have neither a distinctive “soul” nor immortality. Their thoughts depend o what they happen to have encountered. They rejoice or griev over the coming together or the separation of the elements. The| call these things birth and death. Even I, savs Empedocles, tal like that by force of usage.
W hen, having come together in the proper mixture (the elements) they rise to the light in the shape of a man, or as beasts living in the wild or as bushes or birds, the people call it birth and creation;

These things never stop changing throughout. 9) Empedocles seems to have forestalled Aristotle’s objection in the passage of the M etaphysics referred to above. That is why. at times coming together through Amity in one whole. For the coming together of all both causes their birth and destroys them. (DK. that it was not 0nly Strife that separated but also Amity. For to form a harmonious whole. Thus they come into being and their life is not long their own. they make up many out of one. and that sometimes Strife joins things together. and don’t sit there gaping in amazement at what thine eyes show thee. but running . Amity has sometimes to reject— hence to dissolve— certain com­ binations. I. . talk like that. at other times being violently separated by Strife. Do thou look (at these things) with thy mind. by force of usage. though in a disorderly way. and separation nurtured in their being makes them fly apart. Love by the mortals is considered innate and harmonious. wrenched from one another. and those well-disposed towards her perform fine works and call her Bliss and Aphrodite. they call it ill-fated death. fire and water and earth and the immeasurable heights of air. equal in length and breadth. Then dire Strife stands away from all. too. . while Love reigns in their midst. . whose first lines have already been quoted. at other times many grow apart out of the one. Empedocles returns to the subject: I shall speak a double truth: at times one has grown out of many. Thus. These are all equal one to the other and of the same age . and again Strife does join things together. (DK. 3lB fr. Empedocles states: Double is the birth of mortal things and double their demise. in a decisive fragment. . They are forever themselves. But no mortal man has seen her wending her way among the elements . 31B fr. on one side one whole is formed out of many and then again. 17) In another verse of the same fragment.physics and M etaphysics 55 and when they separate.

so much does the misture change them.” some of them published in the well-known French review of philosophy. which contradict express statements in the poetry o Empedocles. N . 2 1 ) T he Process. (DK. and birds and beasts. differing in shape and colour. Empedocles is aware that each of the two forces simultaneous! unites and separates elements or groups of elements. honoured above all. but running through each other. It was hinted already that the coming together and separation of the elements is subjected to a universal law! “stretched overall” and held fast by a “wide oath. It is the nature of what results when they mix the elements to­ gether or separate them apart that is different. But it does this b tearing elements away from the state in which they were before separation— as well as by coalescing other groups of elementi Empedocles is conscious this may create difficulties in the mini . for Strife both separates and unites. From these grow all things that ever were and are and will be: Trees.” However. and Amity acts likewisr. “Revue de Méta­ physique et de Morale. (DK.” Various inter­ pretations have been put forward as to the sequence of thl| process. hence as to the phases through which the world mus periodically pass before returning— after incalculable stretches oi time— to the same condition. 17) In another fragment. Amity create' myriads of living creatures. Therefor the process cannot have a simple and easily understandable mean ing. 31B fr. and men and women. I cannot agree with his conelusions. with more emphasis on the immortality of the elements. they take on various forms and shapes. as well as the long-lived gods. 3IB fr. For they (the elements) are always themselves. L.56 Physics and M etaphysic through each other they become at times different yet are for ever and ever the same. and the fish nourished in salty water. Boussoulas has devoted ma iy monographs to Empedocles’ “mixture. Strif creates monstrosities and non-viable beings. Empedocles returns again to the sarn subject.

W e have seen that this notion is not absolutely original. (DK. Perhaps the cycles corresponded to the Babylo­ nian “long year. 28B fr. let me repeat how each thing came to be · · ·” The composition of the universe out of the four elements and their various mixtures. as Empedocles conceived it. and which we shall encounter again repeatedly. existing at the same time as the visible world.physics and M etaphysics 57 of the reader— or hearer— and that is why he repeats in many frag­ ments. since both Xenophanes and Par­ menides talk of a sphere. It is a conception that Xenophanes reveres. It is transcendent. it is irrelevant at which point we begin. the One. Xenophanes identifies the Sphere with the divine. Hence one of its days is the equivalent of 720 earthly years. Xenophanes’ Sphere is all-seeing and all-hearing and all-thinking. and any changes in quality or any movement that we may notice is a deception of the senses— “opinion” (doxa). which adopts this shape to make its difference from the anthropomorphic gods as great as possible. This thought is also expressed by Parmenides: “It is all the same to me where I should begin. if any of that which I have said is deficient. for that point I shall again at some time reach”.” (I paraphrase a fragment already quoted. It is immobile— a plenum. 103) and Empedocles: “Since they undergo these changes in a certain order. the Whole. so far as he reveres anything. 5) and Heraclitus: “For the beginning and the end coincide on the circumference of a circle”. .) Let us therefore begin with the Sphairos. it is one of the four salient phases in the cosmic process. 2 2 B fr. but it does not breathe. may now be relatively clear. and one of its years as long as 262.” Empedocles’ Sphairos is like neither of these conceptions. As the cosmic process is a cycle. It does not exist all the time.800 of our years. . using many different expressions: . Parmenides’ Sphere is the world.” two minutes of which are equivalent to one earthly year. But the process by which Empedocles thought niortal beings— from the amoeba to the stars and the gods— origi­ nate and return to their doom must now be discussed. it can be said that they are immobile in a circle. (DK. not “truth. The process was circular. each cycle covering an immense stretch of time.

In if 3 all consciousness of joy or pain is absent. all the elements. The Sphairos therefore is a condition or unconscious* bliss. earth.” We do not know whether! Empedocles realized that. m J 1 9 1 (DK. there is nothing outside it| This perfect amalgam constitutes an equally perfect harmony! inaccessible to any sensation or thought. 27) 1 The horror of the unlimited. are merged together. Let us turn again to some of the express sions Empedocles uses to describe the Sphairos: -4 In it were not to be seen the swift limbs of the sun. J It is significant of the poetic force of Empedocles that. One could say conscious?! ness is altogether absent but for the expression that the Sphairos! is “exultant in surrounding solitude. nor yet the sea. even on| such an abstract concept. gods. prevails in all but one of the fragmenta Only in one does Empedocles call the Sphairos limitless. inherited from both Parmenide’ l and the Pythagoreans. presumably covering one or more of the foml cosmic periods. nor the shaggy strength of thJ wooded earth. nor even gods. but they also are absorbed into the Sphairos. nor the earth’s dense vegetation. exultant in surrounding solitude. he posited the void-fll which the Eleatics denied and which he himself had been at pain|i to refute. and] no sun. nor beasts. ineffable! peace. live longer than! the creatures. So much was the Sphairos firmly embedded within the secret compactness of Harmony. or perfect unity. though stily . it is true. The gods. nol worth preserving as such. One school of modern astronomy supposes that] the world was produced by a terrific explosion of an immensely! compact and comparatively small conglomeration of atoms. or living creatures to disturb its ineffable peaces W e must also imagine it as very compact. since it contains all the! matter that exists. 3IB fr. by this expression. spherical all round.58 Physics and Metaphysic In the Sphairos of Empedocles. compared to which individual lives are passing incidents. While the Sphairos lastsjf there are neither men. with neither movement nor becoming.l tents of the world. he manages to convey a feeling that the! Sphairos is a state of supreme fulfilment and that it would be J worthy culmination to be merged in such a perfect. the whole con.

” she leads “the throng of mute fish spawning abun­ dantly”. a havoc. all creatures in this era are tame and friendly towards each other and toward man. Nevertheless. so that they enter into haphazard combinations with one another. the “surrounding solitude” might not be so. Strife gradually gains the upper hand.” Descriptions of this period abound in both works of Empedocles. Strife simply scatters the elements randomly. though of heterocline elements. It is the period during which Amity reigns supreme.” Here of course Empedocles is carried away by his poetic bent. Amity finds her way into the center of the world and begins pushing Strife to the outer edges. but only undifferentiated parts. and begins scattering the parts of the Sphairos in all direc­ tions. Ares (Mars) or Poseidon— yet exist.” She moulds everything in her “impecable palms. Thus begins the third period of the cycle.” After a long period of utter confusion. on all sides equal to itself. it cannot be said that Strife’s work is merely dispersion. for the Sphairos has no limbs. Again and again he opens with the words: “I shall tell a double truth. water to another. O n N atu re as well as Purifications.” which he is going to proclaim. It is a dis­ ordered chaos. it is also a process of union. as we have already related. N o gods of war— Zeus. Then “at the appointed time” this ineffable peace is disturbed by the start of an inner movement somewhat like a vortex. from which monstrosities originate. we may call the period of Amity’s reign the “perigee. Strife has managed to penetrate into the Sphairos and “one by one the limbs of the god started shaking. after the “myriads of living creatures have poured out of her loving hands. and so on for air and fire— as he would then achieve a stratification containing no principle of change. but only Kypris or Aphrodite (Amity). However. even if the Sphairos was limited. Empedocles returns again and again with true inspiration to that . If the Sphairos was the apogee of Harmony and coalescence of all things into one. This is the basis of Empedocles’ insistence on the “double truth.physics and M etaphysics 59 attributing to it the rounded shape. He does not disperse them according to their kind— earth to one side. a contradiction may crop up now and then. It is only natural that in the course of composing such a long epic poem.

. (DK. . In the Purifications Empedocles describes how the people of that age worshipped Kypris or Amity: Nor Zeus the King. fitted together by Aphrodite . attempts to explain how Amit fashioned so many different creatures from the bare four ele­ ments: If explanation of these things seems to thee somewhat deficient. having torn the life out of the beast. as now enjoy life. 3lB fr.60 Physics and M etaphysi long-lost age. gave all species to swift fire to strengthen them . . before her altar they made libations of blonde honey. from earth and water and air. probably a sequence of the previous one: As then Kypris made earth soft by sprinkling it with water. They worshipped and conciliated her with pious delights. or Kronos or Poseidon. with painted semblances of animals and sweet-smelling burnt incense. and the sun’s fire. . Her altars were never smeared by the blood of bulls. 128) It is not preposterous to suggest that this picture of a paradise­ like world presents an historical memory— already hallowed time and tradition— of a civilization totally different from that oi . so many mortal kinds of creatures of so many colours. (DK. but Kypris was the queen. and thou wonderest how. 3lB fr. (DK. with myrrh and bloodless herbs burning. floor. incomplete in tha the main clause is missing. 3IB fr. to wet their own limbs with the pure red gushing blood. raising their branches aloft into the air. 73) In that age trees had foliage and produced plenty of fruit all the year round. for this was considered a heinous crime among men. whose clouds of scented smoke made all sorts of patterns in the air. Thesl fragments are from O n N ature. being mixed. 71) And the next. On the. The two following fragments.

at whose island Odysseus landed shipwrecked ( O d yssey VIII).D. preGreek civilization.phytics and M etaphysics 61 the Greeks of Empedocles’ time: the Aegean. and connects Empe­ docles with the rites of the Corybantes in Crete. as the Welsh were driven by the Saxons to the western mountainous regions of Britain. the freedom of move­ ment of the princess. Arete. Shields were used as decorative designs. Even as late as in the times of the Neoplatonists (4th-5th cent. Also the vague­ ness of the geographical location. The excavations in Crete show us a highly developed culture. the Corybantes performed orgiastic rites. or Minoan. which prevailed over the greater part of the jVlediterranean basin before the descent of the Aryan Greeks from the North. Its memories lived on among those whom the Greeks called Eteocretans. as far as we can judge from the archaeological remains.) Porphyry’s D e abstinentia. and such orgies may well have been practiced during certain ceremonies in honor of the Mother Goddess. But the essence of the beliefs held by the Cretans. relying on Theophrastus’ D e pietate (II. and it would have been impossible to perform sacrifices of beasts there. If the Cretans occasionally waged wars— for example. the altars were tiny. and probably also among the Sikels. so he could not see the course the ship took and the ship was then turned into stone. and the fact that the goddess Athena had plunged Odysseus into a deep sleep during the voyage. against pirates in the islands— they did not glorify war nor combat between men with spears and shields. the preGreek inhabitants of Sicily. A. so its course could not be described . and in all the frescoes and vase decoration there is no scene of war. In historical times. Nausicaa. mentions bloodless sacrifices. 2 ). The preGreek civilization did not show that preoccupation with war which distinguished the Greeks. It is clear that the civilization described in that book was alien to the Greek world: the dominant position of the queen. who were driven to the remoter regions of northwest Sicily. and her attendants. The over-flourishing and constantly fruit-bearing trees remind one of the miraculous garden of the Phaeacians. established in the ante-chamber to the throne-room. were of the character described in Empedocles’ verses.

though in a debased form. Akragas. gives the picture a mythica aspect and symbolizes the complete separation of this pre-Greej survival of a happy. completely and perfectly) does Amity conquer the existing. The gods thaï “were not yet” in the perigee of Amity. J W e have described what blessings the almost complete reign of. colony. Hatred. all tame and friendly to each other. was colonized by two men from different islands. t What interests us in the present context is his overall picture of the stages of the cosmic cycle. . world. are all now seated in Olympus. clinging to its traditional civilization from the Aryan world of wars. By the period in which Empedocles lived. This memory^ appearing also. con­ quests. Both these places had been prominent centers of the Aegean civilization. Though conquered some cen-' turies earlier by the Dorians. with unnatural combinations of elements. | W e have seen in the first chapter that Gela. the era of earthly bliss was situated in an already mythical past age. But Strife has firmly established itself in the hearts and minds of men. they must have kept alive thé memory of their past glory and happy peace. Crete and Rhodes. destruction of animal species and of each other. read)| to reenter it when the opportunity presents itself. Amity brings to the world: harmonious beings. egging men on to wars and demandng bloody sacrifices.62 Physics and M etaphysik on his return to his own country. though it does not yet produce monsters. prosperous. and peaceful island. perjury and internecine wars plague the human kind. in the tales and songs of the Sikels— may well have inspired Empedocles to identify the perigee of Love with that mythical golden age. in an endless variety of shapes and colors The purely biological ideas and problems raised by Empedocles’ conception of the development of living creatures will be dis: cussed at greater length in the chapter on his biology. and bloodthirsty deeds. nor play havo. intriguing. Strife still hovers on the outer edges of the universe. Some scholars have seen in it a foreshadowing of Darwinism: many of Empedocles’ observations are extremely acute and betoken con­ siderable knowledge of anatomy. hence also its. Strife has regained the upper hand. Never “blamelessly” (that is.

although the bull or cow sacrificed may be a human being changed in form— even may be the father. and the slaughter of animals in honor of the gods. son. the utter fool. 3 IB fr. “stretched all over the universe. indeed they demand the bloody sacrifices. hard to bear. Empedocles can be considered dispassionate and distant. (DK. The signs are not yet apparent to all. The world has bcome a dismal place. hut they are ominous.” (DK. whom men worship. “by snearing themselves with blood.” (DK. as if to clease oneself from mud. 136) And: The father. and the bystanders . Tw o transgressions against the general law. you had to wallow in mud. Amity can do nothing against these transgressions. on entering which man “weeps and wails. who has changed his form.” he says. or mother of the sacrificer. In the reign of Amity: For it was considered a heinous crime among men. 3lB fr.y frysiçs and M etaphysics 63 After Empedocles’ conversion to the Pythagorean doctrine of the transmigration of the soul. 6 ) But Empedocles addresses passionate appeals to his fellow-men: Will you not stop this norsome awful slaughter? Do you not see how you tear each other to pieces in the blindness of your mind? (DK. lifting his knife slits the throat of his own dear son. 128) Heraclitus was also strongly against animal sacrifices.” (DK. 118) In his description of the primeval monsters of the second period. 22B fr. 3IB fr.” guaranteed by the “most solemn oaths” (we do not know who swore them) are rampant among m ankind: perjury. It is otherwise with the horror he feels for animal sacrifices. he becomes deeply conscious of the imbalance in the world. 116) The gods. do not take any notice of these transgression. to wet their own limbs with the pure red gushing blood. though “she loathes Necessity. 3IB fr. having torn the life out of the beast. but he viewed it from further off and stretched the irrationality of it: “They atone for bloodshedding.

offer prayers while he sacrifices. He, mindless of the entreaties of the poor victim, having killed him prepares in his princely halls a horrible meal. In the same way, a son catches and kills his mother; children, their father; and having torn the life out of them, they consume their kindred flesh. (DK, 31B fr. 137) In the “joyless place” that the world has now become, “murdé and wrath, and myriads of other small banes and shrivellirf diseases and rottenness and works without result run away lilj water. All these wander about in the dark in the fields of tfl Avenging Power.” (DK, 31B fr. 1 2 1 )* In the following two fragments, Empedocles lets himself go i describing the various “banes.” (DK, 31B fr. 122,123) Most of thj names are his own inventions and the adjectives he appends to them are often original, though they do not convey any reasoi why one particular bane should have a particular attribute. Foi example, why should Vagueness be black-haired or Harmonjj grey-eyed? These banes go in pairs, one good and the other bad Beauty and Ugliness, Silence and Talk, etc. The whole enumera­ tion is a series of verbal fireworks that may have made the crowd at Olympia gape in amazement, especially if recited quickly, bui the list adds nothing either to Empedocles’ poetry, or to th r understanding of his underlying vision. However, it is obviou by his description of the world as a dismal, or a joyless place à roofed-over cave where all these small demons persecute man­ kind like noxious insects— with murder, wrath, perjury, etc. ram pant, that Empedocles refers to the period in the cosmic cycl presaging the return of Strife in all its might. What form its ne\*
*The expression which I rendered in a somewhat prolix way, by “wor1 without result, running away like water” is contained in only two words o Empedocles. These two words, which are understood by any Greek (even though he might not know ancient Greek), are translated by Leonard a ' “Labors, burdened with the water-jars,” probably thinking of the Danaid who draw water externally in cracked jars, which always reach their destina tion empty. Still worse is the translation of Diels-Kranz, who render tH expression by “das Wirken des Rheuma” which does not make sense in an language.

physics and M etaphysics


prevalence will take, we cannot guess. Certainly it cannot re­ semble the first onslaught of Strife when it disturbed the Sphairos, since Strife has not now got the raw material, so to say, of an undifferentiated amalgam of the elements. Strife cannot again create the terrible monstrous creatures it did in that period, but it can undermine what remains of harmony, peace, and beauty in living beings: it can make them destroy each other, or die of shrivelling diseases and pain. Strife had not yet reached its full stature in Empedocles’ time; nor has it yet in ours. For, measured in terms of the cosmic cycle or of the Babylonian long years, our time is not very distant from that of Empedocles. Empedocles does not indulge in prophecies of what will happen next— which may be an indirect proof that the basis of his descrip­ tion of the reign of Amity was historical. After Strife finally again gains absolutely the upper hand, what then? When we reach this point in Empedocles’ cycle, we come up against a blank. Since there are only four stages of the cosmic cycle, it seems we must expect the restoration of the Sphairos. This might come about in one of two ways: Amity might again intervene and restore the “perigee” of her reign; but this would preclude the advent of the Sphairos, and we should have only two alternative periods of worldly life, presided over in turn by Strife and Amity. The alter­ native is the sudden wiping out of all creation, and a return to the primeval condition of absolute unity, peace, and beauty. W e can­ not be certain what Empedocles’ thought was on this matter, but there are hints in the fragments we shall presently quote, that it is the force of Amity which reproduces the Sphairos. Therefore on the accompanying design of the four cycles, the period following the second prevalence of Strife is marked only with the dotted line of doubt. (See diagram, p. 72.) We can say however that we are more or less certain of the first two stages of Empedocles’ cosmic cycle, and that we have intimations of the beginning of the third. It seems that the Sphairos and the reign of Kypris— the two points A and C on the diagram— for a time at least, are more or less static. The first, the Sphairos, does not seem to contain in itself the seeds of its own destruction.


Physics and M etaphys^

But the other that we called the “perigee of Amity” may be saifl to include them. Even though this period was an early paradisi death was certain for all, and the human race was no more acl vanced in knowledge and wisdom than at the present day. EmpJL docles postulates no great intellectual power for men in th'JP period. Though they act rightly and live at peace with creation they are still without sense, driven hither and thither by what the! happen to come across, unable to conceive what can neither b| seen nor heard, and destined to fly away like smoke when tj| elements composing their body separate. They acted rightly the'! but they might easily have been influenced to do the oppositjj as they did in Empedocles’ time. W e can only hint at the problej of whether the new rise of Hatred is brought about partly o' wholly by human agency? The passionate exhortations of Emp| docles against bloody sacrifice seem to indicate that men cai influence the development of their society. The second and thirl phase of the cosmic cycle, after the bursting apart of the Sphairof cannot be attributed to man. In the first he did not yet exist aril he was still very imperfect while Amity strove for him. Both thesi phases took place in tim e; and the fourth phase— the time of Enx pedocles— is gradually evolving. Thus all the changes of the col mic cycle have been, and are, taking place in time. W e have seel that Love gained ground from Strife painfully and painstakingli and far from suddenly, and all the fragments quoted seem to shoyj that the deterioration which both we and Empedocles witness jj also gradual. Only the last stroke— its complete destruction— nd[ come suddenly, for we cannot conceive the gradual increase S. Strife as leading to the Sphairos. And because we cannot imagiJ how the process can lead to this conclusion, we may surmise il sudden advent. It is this inner contradiction— not a trivial philJ logical “analysis,” taking one word from here and connecting | with another single word there— that leads us to conceive it w | not impossible for there to be a sudden change from the welter in to which Strife is leading us to the ineffable peace and balance of tj| Sphairos. It would be as if Necessity, or whatever presides ovej the cosmic cycle, decided to scrap the whole of the, world, whicj was falling into decay and disorder, and to merge the element

Only rare individuals. Lastly the gradual return of Hatred. the period in which he lived. so they’ll always be. yet we have not heard of the elements predomi­ nating alternately. nor of their enjoying any honors. succeeded by the world as it pours out of the loving palms of Aphrodite. I think. then the monsters and the cataclysms. 16) And These are all equal one to the other and of the same age. were able to survey the whole of the process. and find it natural either to fight or to live jn concord with the other creatures. . limitation. obscurantism. and they predominate in turn as the circle comes round. have always existed and will always alternate with each other: As the two were of old. 3IB. The existing fragments of Empedocles’ work O n N atu re do not 0pen any prospect or hope of getting out of the cycle. On N ature does not offer any ethical scale of values. with the same hopeless prospect. fr 17)* This imaginary reconstruction of the process may enable the reader to undrstand more easily Empedocles’ statement about the 'There is a problem here.r Tli physics and M etaph ysics 67 j0to their perfect equilibrium. 3lB fr. of fighting mortality. he would have the mentality of that age. and it would be no more. he tells us. Heraclitus. In either case. The forces. nor give any moral advice. (DK. the particular combination of elements which formed that creature would be bound to dissolve. what are those “all. Nor does he seem to grieve over it. and himself. In which­ ever period a mortal happened to be born. He thought the aeons would always succeed each other. bringing with them periods of the ineffable bliss of the lonely Sphairos. and the use of the world ‘all” seems to justify this conception. (DK. until the time came round again to start once more.” Diels-Kranz interprets them as both the elements and the forces. nor ever. will immeasurable time be emptied of them both. but each is honored differently and has its special destiny to perform. like Pythagoras. flying away like smoke.

But come. at times one alone comes into being. These are all equal one to the other and of the same age. showing that t author himself was aware of the difficulties he had raised.68 Physics and M etaphyst “double truth. one whole is formed out of many. revealing the outer limits of my thought. but insofar as they never stop changing throughout i insofar they are forever immovable in a circle. on one side. while Love reigns in their midst. Do thou look (at these things) with thy mind. Thus. But each is honored differently and has its special destiny to perform and they predominate in turn as the circle comes round. wrenched from each other. and then again. These things never stop changing throughout. Love by the mortals is considered innate and harmonious. they make up many out of one. and those well-disposed towards her perform fine works and call her Bliss and Aphrodite. fire and water and earth and the immeasurable heights of air. for knowledge makes the mind grow. I shall speak a double truth. Then dire Strife stands away from all. at times coming together through Amity in one whole. . But no mortal man has seen her wending her way among the elements. Or else what would there be . In addition to these there is nothing which either comes into being or perishes and ends . Thus they come into being and their life is not long their own.” which recurs again and again. For if they perished totally they would not be at all. at other times being violently separated by Strife. . at other times out of one several things grow. equal in length and breadth. at other times many grow apart out of the one. at times one has grown out of many. For the coming together of all both causes their birth and destroys them. and don’t sit there gaping in amazement at what thine eyes show thee. and separation nurtured in their being makes them fly apart. Yet thou must listen to words not deceptively put together. As I said once before. listen to my words. I shall speak a double truth. Double is the birth of mortal things and double their demise.

Empedocles is conscious that. but three lines later. be reconciled if we interpret it to mean that the sudden change . From their mixture. 17) I think one should interpret the word “these” in “these are all one to the other” as meaning the two forces. The statement can. to what I said before. and compact those previously unmixed. 3IB fr. (DK. those previously wont to be immortal. “in addition to these. came into being. yet still remained unmixed while Strife still held hovering aloft. 35) The expression “all of a sudden” seems to contradict the gradual taking over of the world by Amity. Hence. When namely Strife stood at the lowest depth of the whirl and Amity was established in its midst. despite all he has said. letting new words flow from those I previously uttered. (DK. thousands of mortal creatures poured out. For Strife did not at once retreat to the outer edges of the circle. As it ran under and went away. And all of a sudden they became mortal. in addition to which there is nothing real. and probably there were several other repetitions in other parts of his work. It is this that probably made Aristotle say disparagingly that Em­ pedocles continually repeats himself and yet thinks he is saying something new every time. equal I shall now retrace my steps and come back to my song’s beginning. coming from different directions. they (the elements) are forever themselves. there is nothing” must mean the ele­ ments. Thus myriads of forms. in-so-far could there enter the pure onrush of mild-minded Amity. he repeats in it in a slightly different form in another fragment. however. changing their ways. a wonder to behold. though this is clearly indi­ cated in the two preceding verses. but in some limbs still remained fast while from others it had already gone. 3IB fr. all these came together into one. well-knit together.physics and M etaphysics to make the W hole greater? Whence would it come? 69 pjo. but running through each other they become at times different yet are for ever and ever the same. the process has not been understood by his sole disciple. not far from each other but thickly close together.

and he allots the fragments to on. Thus. 1 . for they are full of misunderstandings. Empedocles many times. must stress once again that most of their comments are frequenti. in so far could there enter the pure onrush of Aphro dite. Diogenes Laertius. (AGC. (DL. contrasting air. but their opinions are vitiated either by the influence o Aristotle’s disparaging comments or by later mystical. AC 279b 17. though de voting many pages to Empedocles. I. which refe| once to the forces. phers who think the heavens were created: “Anaxagoras made the world come into being once. and fire. 312-15) and Stobaeus (CW. or else the second was subdivided by late editions. Ftf example. carrying much less conviction than the force whic Empedocles’ own thoughts are expressed.70 Physics and Metaphysik came for each creature separately. 4. W . I have disregarded the numerous comments of the ancients on this crucial point o Empedocles’ theory. he misconstrues the wor I have already commented upon: “these” (things). 476) The third book does not see to have existed at all. PQC. iii 984a. and quoting Hippobotus and Philoponos. 35 1. and earth. as birth is a sudden eve^ though prepared a long time before. or the other of them. VIII 51-77) Plutarch refers to this theory i many of his works (for example. 303. which H lumps together as one matter. et al. In interpreting the elements and the process. . the second time to the elements. warped by the preconceptions of their era or are careless an' superficial. 677D). V. religiouj or other preconceptions. but two. so as Strife ran under arf went away.17) as wèj as Galen— also comment on this part of Empedocles’ theory. Simplicius maintains that there were thrl books of the work O n N ature. (DOX. Many others' Aetius (DOX.) W e have already noted that he à one place seems to imply that Empedocles’ elements were né really four. 330 b 2 0 ) Aristot) also considers the forces as on the same level and of the sam quality as the elements. refers only very briefly to hi cosmiè theory. Aristotle repeatedly expresses his horror at those philoso.” (AlVtB I. water. Many other commentators refer to Empedocles’ cosmi theory.

gut while they exist— “what they call life”— they experience grief and delight. and when the Sphairos. complete. but they do not seem j to have the power of extending or shortening their reign. They predominate in turn. Properly speak­ ing. and variety of all creatures is determined by i the alternate supremacy of the two forces. we have a pale reflection of this harmony and happiness in the absolute reign of Amity at the other end of the diameter starting from the Sphairos. rests in ineffable bliss. and think they know about their surrounding world. repeated ad infinitum. The kind.\ physics and M etaphysics 71 Recapitulation.” 3. -fhat knowledge and that thought are produced by sensation. in total harmony with itself. This process is a cycle of very long duration. The source of all things is the elements. alone. but seem ing to change when they mix with each other in different proportions. eternal. Love and Hate. “their life is not long their own” and they fly away like smoke. or . the infinite varieties of living things are only an appearance. which is never named but which is hinted at by such expressions as “in the appropriate time” or “when the appropriate time comes round. In sum. when the amalgam of all ele­ ments and all their apparent qualities is perfect. . form. its apex is the Sphairos. If we think of the process as a circle. Amity and Strife. 2. there are three main tenets in Empe­ docles’ view of reality: 1. comprising all the stuff of the world. when there is no differentiation whatever. changing neither in quality nor in quantity. What presides over their alternate supremacy is an undefined “eternal and ineluctable” law.

Strife enters Sphairos and creates havoc. Amity gains gradually the upper hand. Amity retreats before new onslaught of Unknown process and return to Sphairos. Amity reigns supreme.c strife amity A A-B B-C C C-D D-A The Sphairos. .

for at some points it clashes with other views of his on the more complicated and abstract processes of thought.” (DK 31 B fr. if rightly interpreted. W e shall take it in isolation. imperceptible in themselves.” One frag­ ment tells us explicitly “For know that there are emanations from ' all things ever created.” It continues: Many ills penetrate through them into their minds and blunt their wits. . Having seen in their life only a small part of the whole. These produce sensation by striking the appropriate sense-organs which are perforated by equally invisible “passages. quick death overtakes them and rising into the air they fly away. can be seen to agree with modern conceptions. 89). His theory of sensation is among the most interesting parts of his doctrine and. The first fragment we possess of the work O n N ature begins: “Narrow passages. Empedocles believed knowledge to be conveyed to the human mind primarily by sensation. the way in which he envisaged them is original and exclusively his own. instruments of sensation. Sensation. are scattered all over a man’s body. SENSATION AND KNOWLEDGE Although both the theory of the four elements and the notion that I the world is periodically destroyed and reborn were current in Empedocles’ time. According to Empedocles all things have emanations— effluvia— consisting of small particles of matter.5. These sense-organ passages respond to different effluvia according to their nature and i their size.

2) This passage. which does contai parts “impossible to conceive for the mind. K now led like smoke. What enters through the passages? Empedocles says that ever thing in existence emits emanations or effluvia of different kind It is these effluvia which. nor do sight produce any sensation of sound. present no difficulty to being conceived by the mind. paying little heed to the coherence of the who! theory. This is called today the specific sensibility of eacl sense-organ. produc the sensation.74 Sensation and. These things can neither be seen. What are “these’ things? That there are millions of narrow passages perforating th whole body? If so. nor conceived by the mind.” In other word" I think that fragment has been assembled by a commentator. since the ancien commentators chose their quotations according to the point thej wished to make. could not in fact have stood at the beginniti of the work. and so on. driven hither and thither. nor heard by men. leaves the other sense-organs unaffec­ ted. for example. being aware only of what each man happens to have come across. organ is given in two lines: a hound is following the trail of beast: . hut boasting each that they have seen the whole (truth). even if invisible. which is a short summary of Empedocles’ whol theory of sensation. as the expression “these” shows. The best instance of how the effluvia affect a sens. thus. I incline to the view that “these things” actually refer φ Empedocles’ whole conception of knowledge. The passages scattered all over the body are of various sizes an function. Some let through sensations. why can this fact not be conceived by th' mind? I cannot accept this. on entering the sense-organs. for we shall see that Empedocles hajj practiced anatomy (perhaps even autopsies of women who die| during pregnancy) and I consider it unlikely that “these things’ refer to the narrow passages which. (DK 31B fr. auditory stimuli do not affect the eye. nor smell any sound ό sight. others the air which regu Iates the breathing in and out. an that its parts do not belong together. What one kind of sense-organ cm receive through its passages.

which is based on fact. discusses at length Empedocles’ theory of sensation. the stimulus cannot enter at all. p. However. of the reci­ pient. the stimulus passes through them without affecting them. or brain. and must make us wary of accepting uncritically the remarks of later authors. he foreshadowed what we now call the “specific” function of the sense-organs. who. “But. (D K 3lB fr.” Empedocles explains the difference between the vari­ ous sensations by the size and constitution of the “passages. These two words. Aristotle’s criticism is even more naive and . themselves hypothetical. These are stimuli originating from an object but which bear no resemblance to the object itself.” If these are too large. with precisely the original and fundamental part of it. and so on. who practiced hunting extensively. of the grass. (DOX. Empedocles knew that different stimuli affect different sense-organs. If they are too small. comments that it was impossible for the hound to distinguish the smell of a live beast from that of a dead one and also asks how the hounds discriminate between the smells of the wild beast and other smells.Sensation and K n o w led g e searching with his nostrils the tiny particles of its limbs left by the wild beast along the tender grass. as exemplified by the above two lines. that is. “the various sensations cannot distinguish (the stimuli) one from the other.” says Theophrastus. under the influence of Aristotle. Xeno­ phon. Both these objections are ludicrous. and which (by a mechanism still unknown to us today) recreate the object in the mind.) Smell. may be taken as the archetype of Empedocles’ theory of sensation. pulsations of air. Something— here particles of matter— enters the sense-organ and affects the nerve-ends spread thickly inside of it— today we might refer to electro-magnetic waves. for example. having even written a small treatise on it. Theophrastus. finds fault. but it does attempt to account for the fact that each sense-organ only responds to certain kinds of stimuli. This explanation is naive. 101) 75 There is a hypothetical supplement to these lines: the words “when alive” were added to make the meter fit (referring to the #ild beast). 499 ff. gave rise to endless discussions among the ancient commentators. in his De Sensu.

He expiait taste realistically by saying that the tongue.” Here is the whole of til fragment. Aristotle says: “If it were so. inasmuch as they (tH light-rays) are “more fine and thin. in fact. 8 . prevent wind and rain fro penetrating inside. taste. 324g 26) This is. for Empedocles tries to subsu ' all sensation under the same principle of external stimuli brin·' us news of the external world through appropriate entranc spread all over the body: sight. from radiating light from inside outwards. it being more fine and thin. which is qui'j right.” he simply means that it is not apparent to the comm man’s rudimentary sense of logic. intending to set forth in the wintry night. being soft and warfij dissolves the substances coming in touch with it. prepares himself a lantern. for.0 the lantern (probably of thin plates of horn). which keep off the watery depths all around but let the light through to dart outside. the veils being pierced all over by passages divinely wrought. the smellf substances would be exhausted faster than others. smell. which shows.76 Sensation and. but Aristotle begins a remark with “it is not reasonable” or “it is n . 84) . Theophrastus however put finger on an apparent weakness in Empedocles’ theory of sen tion: that he tries to explain all sensation in the same way. like the “fine veil that surround the pupil of the eye. (DK 3IB fr. but do not prevent either the lantern or the ty. lighting a flame of burning fire whose sides hinder the rush of all winds and scatter their-breath. In one of the m cis beautiful of the existing fragments. among other things.” (AGC. likely. and shines towards the plain with its untiring rays. As when a man. and points out that the sides . on the matter of the particles entering through t nose of the hound. Empedocles compares tH structure of the eye to a lantern. while the fire penetrates outside. hearing. a detailed knowledg of the anatomy of the eye. far as it is finer and more tenuous. Knovile ignorant. A view current in Empedocles’ time was that the eye n‘ o only receives light but emits light as well. But t is both a weakness and a strength. In like fashion was the eternal fire fenced around and hidden in finest veils enclosing the round pupil. an easily verifiable phenomenon.

excess in either produces defects. the fire perceiving white. and that the bright light of day hemmed their own light in. Dut that it could easily radiate outward during the night. In his view. 87) From both eyes one vision is produced. ^rhich is repeated elsewhere: that we sense like by like. This is almost an anticipation of the presence in the retina of rods and cones.Sensation and K n o w le d g e 77 pother element of his theory is contained in that fragment. Most interesting. that we see the light by the light inherent in our eyes. but it shows that Empedocles saw a problem where others saw none: trait of a true research worker. This was a common Relief in ancient thought. The eyes. and extended to all the elements in another fragment (DK. both as a sense organ and as an object. This explanation. (D K 3lBfr. 88) This last fragment ends abruptly. . of which the rods e n a b le us to perceive light and shade and the cones the various rnlors. This jdea is expressed more clearly. show how attentive to detail was his curiosity about external phenomena. as is shown in several fragments: The gentle flame (of the eyes) got only a small part of earth. Am ity fashioned them with particular care. 3 IB fr. (DK 3lB fr. though wrong. from the scientific point of view. 86) Aphrodite having wrought them with joints of love. closely side by side. Empedocles also sought to explain why some animals see better in the dark. 85) From which divine Aphrodite formed solid our untiring eyes (D K 3lB fr. seem to have moved Empedocles deeply. . He thought in their eyes the fire was much greater. the best sighted creatures are those with an exactly balanced mixture of fire and water. the water black. based on the fact that the eye is the only organ of the body which can be seen in absolute darkness. The repeated expression “untiring” indicates that Empedocles . 109) and even to the forces in addition to the element. is Theophrast’s remark that Empedocles thought there were in the eye. (DK 3IB fr. . alternate passages of fire and water.

we hail only a half-verse: “A bell . ' | W e need to remember that the sudden conversion of stimti into actual sensation can only be stated and not fully conceivë even today. A rJ totle’s criticism of the whole conception is wide of the mark. strikes the walls 9 the ear and makes a sound. as well as between certain parts of the brain. 99 I prefer the rendering “outcrop.” (DK 3IB fr. as if hearing were a bell. and other transparent media by having passages. and sigft whose source is in principle inexhaustible. but thickly placed in rows. although we kno. 8 . he says. 506) Aristotle. would not be necessary. He adds that no difference is made between animate a . 324b ff. also that things are seen through air a|· water. like smell and tasti whose emitting substances are sooner or later exhausted. for the stimuli to penetrate iii the passages. it would be enough if they just touched their e trances. says “to some it seems thf each (creature) experiences sensation through some passag through which the cause of the sensation enters in its main a extreme form. maintain these things not on' about the causes of the sensation and the subjects experiencing i but add that there is a mixture of the two. summi$ up Empedocles’ theory of sensation. like Empedocles. when the passages âr of corresponding proportions. t About Empdocles’ theory on the sensation of hearing.) Theophrasti points out that Empedocles says nothing about the sense of toueS except to repeat the general theory that it occurs through tB correspondence of the passages (in the skin) to the stimuli. and t’ transparent substances have them more than others. which (bell) being moved. . when the air is moved by the voie it sounds inside. and they say we see and hear and have all othl sensations in this way.” to the usual tra slations by twig.” “appendage. hence that sight is no solely a matter of “effluvia” entering the eye. moved by the corre ponding sounds.” (AGC. Theophrastus seems to have accepted this vief for in his D e Sensu he comments: “Hearing is produced by tH noises inside (the ear). . invisiti because of their smallness. p. a fleshy outcrop. as has already been pointed out.” (DOX.78 Sensation and K n o w le î f felt there was a difference between sensations. more about the correlations between sensation and the afferen nerves. Those givin these definitions. that is.

For the blood round the heart is thought for the mortals. and after he himself had completed his work On Nature. this total ignoring of Alcmeon reinforces our view that Empe­ docles came into contact with the Pythagoreans late in life. the great Pythagorean doctor. (DK JlBfr. Smell. per­ haps in his fifties. As all things. although the latter also have “passages. more material in the sense of smell and taste.” This is related to his general misunderstanding. and all have a share in feeling and thought. Incidentally. less in hearing and sight. but it is explicit: Nourished in the blood-stream leaping back and forth (the heart) there thought.Sensation and K n o w led g e 79 inanimate things. W e have only one fragment referring to this question. had located the seat both of sensation and thought in the brain. accor­ ding to Alcmeon. connected with the brain. That som ething travels from the source of the sensation to the sense-organ and that that something is different for each sense. all other sensations are also. when the great figures of the immediate successors of Pythagoras had already receded to dim memory and oral tradition. we must refer to his belief that all living creatures are akin to each other— “All creatures breathe in and out.” If all animals have the power to think and if in many animals there is no detectable brain while blood is common to all. reigns. then blood must be the centre of both sensation and knowledge. lies elsewhere: that he thinks the seat of feeling and thought is not in the brain. 506) To explain this retrograde conception of Empedocles. 105) This is without doubt a retrograde step. in my opin­ ion. goes through the breathing straight to the brain. this means in the last resort that each element in the sense-organ analyses the impressions it . is in my opinion one of the chief merits of Empedocles’ general view of sensation. p. in one way or another. (DOX. The weakness of Empedocles’ theory of sensation. are composed of the four elements. as Theophras­ tus says. as already a generation before him Alcmeon. as called by men. animate and inanimate. but in the blood. which has already been pointed out.

(DK 3IB fr. and bitter sprang on bitter sour rushed for sour. 90. (DK 3lB fr. though on a different basis. 38) (b) The hypothesil that we recognize or conceive like by like. be­ cause of the deliberate choice of a different verb for a simili process. 109) ^ Another fragment is rather enigmatic. IV. Leonard’s translation) . penetrating through equally invisible passages into the body of the recipient. and ether from ether. emanations destined to one sense-organ make no impres-! sion on another. Thus sweet seized upon sweet. fr. and hot rode upon hot. contrary to Empedocles’ custom. Summing up. the smell sniffed by the hound. This is a definite progress on previous philosophers. but are relative). W. something existing by themselves. 1.” (DK 3IB. humid and dry (a notion which later became traditional in Greë philosophy to its great disadvantage. 663A) seem ë rather doubtful authenticity. Empedocles prg supposes an elaboration which we now know to take place in tli center of the nerve-system. w e can distinguish three chief concepts in Επί pedocles’ theory of sensation: ( 1 ) His primary idea: There are invisible emanations from all. sweet. (In fact. and sour. second. Hate by dire Hate. These paths are of differing make and size.80 Sensation and Knowledg receives into its component elements. ■ . for these qualities are no. like love and hatred: Likewise Love by Love we know. each sense-organ receiving the emanation appropriate to it. In this respect all sensation is on an equal level. 3. and the sight of a dis­ tant star. E. for it extends the percep­ tion of growing of like by like to the qualities of hot and cold.) In Eni pedocles’ view. First. things.· / These verses (quoted by Plutarch— PQC. because they are the only one' mentioning these qualities of bitter. This is extended to feelings. we perceive the objects of the exterhal world by the element that predominates in each of them and he refers to two distinct processes: (a) Each of the elements constituting a living being grows by the addition of its like: “Earth grows in bulk froijj earth.

This. I think. However the sensations may be produced. when we recognize things by the senses. it must be because the like in us recog­ nizes the like in them. K nowledge. and whatever the central organ which receives the stimuli may be. 81 The retrograde element in Empedocles’ theory is that he makes the blood the seat not only of sensation but also of thought. was inexcusable.to the feelings. (2) His attempt at explanation: As we are made up of the same elements as everything in existence. but understand each thing in the way in which it is best revealed. the central question for a philosopher is: Do sensations give a true picture of the external world. a s we said. the elements and the forces. are the images they occasion a trust­ worthy evidence as to the constitution of the world? Empedocles’ answer to this question is a “double truth. since the system of Alcmeon was already current in his time. and not to believe one m ore than the others: But come. . the key word. The philosopher warns his dis­ ciple not to rely exclusively on one sense. nor must thou hinder from they limbs any of the other means by which there is access to knowledg. On the first level. that is. and resounding noise not more than prowess of tongue. consider with all thy mental power how each thing is revealed: trusting sight not more than hearing. unless we distinguish the world as it presents itself to us— the visible.” as are all his answers. 3) The word “understand” or “conceive” is. (DK 3IB fr. if we know how to delimit their bounds. the senses convey reliable evidence. (3) His extension of this idea of like attracting and recognizing like from sensible qualities . audible olfactory world with its endless variety— from its true constitution. and it is difficult to reconcile all the fragments dealing with this subject.< jênsati°n and K n o w led g e none of whom attempted to formulate a coherent theory of sensation: it is also consistent with modern science.

the advice (in reality to himsel not to reveal more than is meet for ephemeral mortals to hear el would be meaningless. hence that w e should not rejoice over the one. their combination witffl each object. T hey can convey some knowledge. For if w e were advised to accl that evidence in the verses preceding this part of the fragrn| (which contain a rigmarole about the white-armed virgin Muse! the well-reined chariot of song). a litl more there”. nor can it inform us of the real constituera of the perceptible world: the elements. K n ow l It stresses that intellectual elaboration is needed before we J trust the evidence of the senses. nor “leading the mute throng of abundantly spara ing fish. it is worth stressing once more that Empedocles del not reject outright the evidence of the senses. a first step upon the ascending ladder of t|S knowledge. Sight and hearing and “prowess of tongu| (probably the discourse of other philosophers) are not to rejected outright. H ow far does this value extend? It cams show us the invisible passages. they can give rise to errors so far as the deëjl . something mol than the senses is needed— intellect or intuitions or Nous. and unless w e assign sensation* their proper place. putting “a little less here. « N o one has seen “Am ity working her w ay” among the elemel nor mixing the various elements. But though sensations cannot initiate us into inner truth of the reality. nor the effluvia emanating from tfl objects of perception. nor gril® over the other. they can indicate “how each thing® revealed. m This is corroborated by a number of fragments. and the forces working to establish or to dissolve t i composition. but before M give them. The wise ml should not despise them as Parmenides and Heraclitus did and! Plato was to do later.” N or can sensation persuade us that birth and death S nothing but the coming together and the separation of the ej ments. Sensation is often the cause of the ills and cm that blunt the wits of mortals. For this sifting. m The great care devoted by Empedocles to tracing both i§ origin and the function of each sensation shows that he attach! a certain value to them.” This means that they are the raw material of higffl knowledge. if 0'| knows how to sift their evidence.82 Sensation and.

But even the faulty impressions created by sensations can give an intimation of what is that true reality· Empedocles confesses that although he himself is aware of :t[ie insubstantiality of birth and death as realities. later in the same fragment: “Listen to utterance of words that do not deceive. by looking “with the mind. and the second in his hrifications. yet he talks like the rest of mankind “by force of usage. 24) One fragment indicates how knowledge can be imparted by hearing: “Listen thou to my words. plodding up one peak and then the next. though it appears suddenly. 3 IB fr. even assuming that only few men can rise to it? The traditional answer was intuition or revelation. and not follow exclusively one path” of words. is the result . 3lB fr.Sensation and K n o w le d g e 83 jfuth of things is concerned. (DK. How can he do this? By thinking. and lastly knowledge (Alcmeon believed they were). . (DK. and when they separate they call it ill-fated death. I. are not sufficient to form ideas.” The speculative thinker “ must join many peaks (of thought) one to the other. 'what is the source of true knowledge. Then people call it birth and creation. opinions. (the elements) rise to the light in the shape of a man. Intuition. o r as beasts living in the wild. 14) But the excep­ tional man must go beyond the sensations. 24) This line sketches a method of intellectual work as Empedocles conceived it. joining them together by invisible paths. and their combinations in memory by words and analytical thinking. 3 IB fr. One starts from the ground level. not follow exclusively one path. for learning increases intellec­ tual power”. Roughly speaking. we may say that Empedocles ac­ cepted the first in his work O n N ature. too. Later one may discover a short-cut to the summit an d finally one may soar over all the peaks. and. talk like that by force of usage.” \Vhen having come together in the proper mixture. If therefore sensations. 3 IB fr. 9) And he tells us that the wise man. or as bushes or birds. (DK.. must join many peaks (of thought) one to the other. iand .” (DK.

1 3 1 1 It is to be doubted whether this verbiage of mystification anything to do with the vow of secrecy imposed on its memB by the Pythagorean school. of a strenuous elaboration of phenomena empirigfj acquired. t (DK. 3lBfr. be now with me. turn madness away from my tongue. not to let him be misled by “tongues prattling to no jü pose. the key to which was held only by tH selves. Empedocles may not hi believed in the traditional gods. diffused throughout the world. 3lB fr. f^ which the wise man can draw more than the common run' mankind.84 Sensation and Knowle of a long period of preparation. does not exclude the existence of a mind outside man— eif divine or something like the “Xynos N ous” of Heraclitus— a fj| permeating the universe. despite his appeals to the Muse. and let through consecrated lips a clear spring flow. when I intend to reveal virtuous words about the blessed gods: (DK. Such allusions ? a pealed to the decadent ages which preserved them for us. white-armed virgin Muse . and I beseech thee. or to gods. of thinking or brooding ovg problem. . For this school believed knowlé to be not a gift from the gods but a revelation of the ulti essence of the world. This appears to be the way chosen by Empedoclei. But Empedocles nowhere explicitly refers to sue source in On Nature. but there are moments in wHi one wants to invoke or to beseech something outside ones Another fragment from the Purifications stresses the same needs If thou. 3| There follow a number of trite and unpoetic allusions— part of stock-in-trade of the imitators of Homer— which moreover suf from mixed metaphors and end in nonsense. immortal Muse. ever wast inclined to spend thy care in favor of one of the mortal men. . atft expense of who knows how many deep and original thoug Yet the opening phrase is beautiful.” The strongest instance of this kind of interpretation is:i Ye gods. . thy worshipper.

as well as intellectual capacity and effort. led by the virgin daughters of the Sun. on the lower level. For know that all beings have a share in wisdom and thought. 3lB fr. and disinterestedness. single-mindedness. The whole of the first fragment of Parmenides’ work deals with a chariot which carried him to the borders of Day and Night. whether human or belonging to other creatures. Moral qualities. for they increase themselves in stature. To revert therefore to the way in which a superior man can attain true knowledge. but that knowledge . 11 0 ) What is the “kindred race” to which high thoughts may wish to return? It must be other minds. W e have also seen that this world is not to be despised. each according to his nature. We have seen that. these fragments are irrelevant. The passage quoted from Empedocles do not convince us that he believed in a higher-than-human source of knowledge. in thousands of base desires which blunt the intellectual might. wishing to rejoin their own kindred race. But if thou longest for other things. in another fragment. are stressed as prerequisites: persistence. considering them with good intent and selfless pure study. why then they’ll soon leave thee with time’s passing. etc. (DK. and thou wilt have acquired much else from them. and brought him to a great Gate where the Sun’s daughters stripped away the veils etc.Sensation and K n o w le d g e 85 I take these two fragments as a remote echo from the influence exercised by Parmenides in Empedocles’ young days. they’ll all be with thee throughout thy life in a high degree. such as are common to men. In any interpretation of the philosophy of either of these thinkers. But do not such qualities go hand in hand with genius? Here is the whole remarkable fragment: For if thou adherest to these things steadfastly in thy strong mind. sensations carried to us from the external things (through the invisible passages scattered over the body) inform us of the objects of this world. the philosopher sketches a much more sober method by which such knowledge may be reached. better fitted to receive them.

and the sun’s fire. despite his assured statements. People w h<3 merely trust their senses and their personal experience learl nothing of the truth: According to their circumstances grow the thoughts of men. and thou wonderest how. is a sign of a truly philosophical mind. Secondly. In the first place. (DK. which are nothing but the coming together and the separation of the elements.86 Sensation and. which is impossible. but also of the influence of Amity in their affairs. for he could not be unaware thaf his repetitions and hesitations might make him the butt of adverse criticism. it is contingent. Empedocles feels keenly that what he has to say about the higher level is inconceivable and almost impossible to express by the available linguistic means. Socratic) to have acknowledged himself baffled by the gap bei tween what he has conceived. As far as I know. no of life and death. from earth and water and air. Men have a dim understanding of the working not only of the cosmic process. Knowledge does not carry us very far. so many mortal kinds of creatures \ of so many colors. 103) J . 3lB fr. (DK. meif go by what “they happen to come across” and then boast to hav perceived the whole. fitted together by Aphrodite. Yet. despite the difficulty in expressing the higher level o knowledge by use of the common language. as now enjoy life. W e have already quoted fragments that show this un­ certainty. he is the only philosopher (pre. and what it is possible to express adequately. 71) The fragment ends here. How the step takes place from the lower to the higher level of knowledge we are not told. He there­ fore returns again and again to the subject of the elements and the forces. and the word “deficient” recurs many times in hi verses. and another begins: If explanation of these things seems to thee somewhat deficient. 31 Bfr. This modesty.or post-. Empedocles -insist that all other knowledge is contingent and superficial. that knowl­ edge does not convey a true picture of the ultimate reality. being mixed.

constant pondering over the same problem. The wise man must try to join the peaks of thought by many different ways. It seems therefore that. There is nothing in the fragment itself to suggest this interpretation. 1009b) later commentators (Philoponos and Simplicus) connect the second fragment to the change of disposition men suffer in their sleep. yet the advice is given . Though “these things can neither be seen nor heard by men. They are different'in quality. 108) It should be mentioned here that. retain little. Again: As they change and become different. III. AMP. 3IB fr. reject much. But there is also the unremitting in­ tellectual effort. and the cyclic cosmic process. He must experiment in his mind. The lower level is con­ tingent. the higher level of true knowledge comprises the composi­ tion of all things out of the four elements. iii. the higher one is absolute. But various fragments inform us of the prerequisites for real and deep knowledge.” If faithfully adhered to and strenuously pursued. nor concerned by the mind. 2 ). though Aristotle interprets the verses as we do— that the changes of thought occur according to what happens to people or to the changes that take place in them­ selves (AA. There is no direct way from the one level to the other. V.Sensation and K n o w le d g e 87 ffence their thoughts can have no general validity. W e know already some of those conditions: single-mindedness. Aristotle could not have failed to mention it. trying to form a consistent pic­ ture. or the so-called wise men. the tensing of the whole mental apparatus. and. although Empedocles does not reject the evidence of the senses so far as the observable phenomena are con­ cerned.” (DK. steadfastness and detachment from any favorable or unfavorable appreciation by other people. these will prepare the ground for a man to become receptive of the higher truth. and if there had been anything in its original context. the two forces reigning in turn over the world. whether these be the populace. These are moral attitudes. 427a. and mould the pieces together with “pure intent. so for them their thoughts present themselves and become different every time. the law governing their changes. 3lB fr. (DK.

Empedocles also trusts what we should nowadays call th subconscious working of the mind. Experience also shows that intellectual effort increases understanding not only 0f specific problems. loosened fro" the bondage of ambition. and the deeper. each according to its nature. from the multifarious demands of every. 3IB fr. For they increase themselves in stature. day life. For morfl disposition is not alien to intellectual pursuit. but they are indispensable. Empedocles believes in the creativeness of the human. ings: analytical or discursive thinking. but supports it. Why then. are suddenly illuminated and fall into place of their own accord. 3) The apparent contradiction o trying to understand things “not conceivable by intellect” may fo tentatively solved by considering “intellect” as having two mean. 31b fr. wishing to rejoin their kindred race. when problems. but of other things as well (as learning to plajj one piece well on one instrument makes one more capable of performing other pieces): “Knowledge makes the mind grow. 3IB fr. “increases itself” unless we are drawn away from ouï pure intent by “thousands of base desires. seemingly insoluble to the discursive thought. K noivled again and again to understand by intellect: “understand how thing is revealed. conception— what the ancients meant by Logos. (DK. even while we are not con? scious of it. which blunt the intellectual might.” (DK.” The outcome is no guaranteed by these prerequisites. they’ll soon leave thee with time’s passing. Blit if thou longest for other things.88 Sensation and. οΐ pondering.’’ (DK. 110) This is perfect advice for all disinterested study. intuitiv. 17) In short. or more-than-ordinary-human mind. aril the process going on in our minds. such as are common to men \ in thousands of base desires. . and thou wilt have acquired much else from them. they’ll all be with thee throughout thy life in a high degree. research. valid today as much as in Empedocles’ time. All this is summarised in the sterxf advice he gives to his disciple Pausanias in: For if thou adherest to these things steadfastly in thy strong mind. considering them with good intent and selfless pure study.

but toilsome and heavy and a cause of envy to men is the onrush of knowledge into their minds. None of them guarantees that it will be reached: One must feel not merely that the effort is worthwhile. The first and easiest beginning is through the senses on their own level. 114) This toil may be impaired by idle talk: . 4) Recapitulation. There is no reason to trust one sense-organ more than another. and the cosmic cycle. after warning his disciple about the common man’s aversion to superior minds. 31B fr.” Empedocles does not tell us explicit- . (DK. once the spirit hath moved within thy breast. shelter (these teachings) in thy silent breast. 3lB fr. my friends. (DK. and one cannot know exactly when this movement will occur. .” However the senses can give no knowl­ edge of the real truth: of the laws of the elements. but their evidence must be sifted and recognized for what it is. Higher knowledge may be reached only by the qualities described: unremitting con­ centration and “pure intent. (DK. K n o w le d g e 89 Awareness that this ceaseless intellectual effort is a thankless task from the point of view of earthly honors and happiness is express­ ed in a remarkable fragment of the Purifications.Sensation and. there are many ways to higher knowledge. and the orders she gives. the forces. 3IB fr. For Empedocles. There is nothing in Empedocles of Parmenides’ outright rejection of all sense perception as a decep­ tion nor of Plato’s advice to the would-be philosopher to study “dying and being dead. each has a specific function and they must not be confused. Empedocles advises: Do thou recognise the pledge of our Muse. I know that truth is with the words I shall utter. it is a movement within one’s breast. but that one cannot live without making it. but for the heavens and the gods themselves— imposing on them disso­ lution and a periodic return to the Sphairos. which are valid not only for human beings. Oh. Hence. 5) But knowledge is not passive or static. .

but carried out direct experiments. (DK. some of which achieved beneficial results. and after they have separated. But he is absolute-' ly certain of the truth of his doctrine: his words do not deceive. Empedocles lowered into the sea an empty vessel. his Muse (in this context his inspiration) guarantees the truthful-'’ ness of his utterance. whose revolutions become immense­ ly complicated as the number increases.90 Sensation and K now ledgt ly how he came to his general conception of the laws of the uni­ verse. Aristotle. according to Aelian (De N atura A nim alium IX. The ultimate conception by Empedocles of the universal law of becoming. but nourishment to fish. playing as usual with opposite notions. Empedocles not only kept in touch with the visible world. and Theophrastus.( that while they live— what they call life— there happen to them things good and bad. identical or a little different as the proportions of the element’s mixture varies (“ a little more here. such as checking epidemics by stopping a pestil­ ential wind and diverting a river course. 129). which constitute the kernel of his system. animate and inani­ mate out of the same ingredients. He was followed in this by Democritus. he claims for himself alone the"’ absolute superior and certain knowledge of the law of the uni­ verse: There is no man so wise that he could guess in his mind. but they all went to prove something. Empedocles conceived the fantastic idea that there is sweet water in the sea. nothing at all. 31B fr. 98) is not far removed from the conception that atoms differ only in the number and ar­ rangement of their electrons. 3IB fr. and of the recurrence of world upon world. But before (the elements) adhered together. 3IB fr. (DK. or a little less in rela­ tion to the other quantities” DK. had said that sea water is poison to man. of the composition of everything. and are. sealed and . To prove his idea. On the level of immediate sense data. 64). 15) . These and other experi­ ments may have led him to incorrect conclusions. In addition to the fragment referring to Pythagoras. they were. One of his less well-known experiments was the following: Heraclitus.

And all the medicines that are. Aristotle seems to have appropriated the experiment. though vaguely.Sensation and K n o w led g e 91 made of wax. at thy will. we do not know. (DK. and in the drought of summer wilt thou call forth tree-nourishing streams and the branches will reach up to heaven. This is expressed. destroy by their breath meadows and fields. some of which have now been attained. 3lB fr. adding only that Empedocles shared his view. Ill) . to keep away old age and sickness. From darkling rain wilt thou cause dry weather. while others still remain in the region of dreams. thou wilt learn. Whether such experiments helped Empedocles to arrive at his conception of the elements and their laws. and again. Empedocles’ conclusion in this case was not pre­ cise. in the last fragment of O n N ature. new-risen winds will rush. From the Netherworld thou wilt bring back the vital force of a man already dead. Thou wilt stop the violence of tireless winds. rising out of the earth. where he promises his disciple power and achievements. which. for only to thee shall I these things reveal. the vessel was filled with sweet. appropriate to men’s needs. but how many men adrift on the sea might have been saved from a horrible death by thirst if they had provided themselves with vessels of wax? Thus does man stumble on one truth while seeking for another. When he drew it up after twenty-four hours. drinkable water. But he was conscious that knowledge acquired on this level— power over nature— led to power over man.

his detailed examination of the visible world and. his relation of what has happened in the stages of the cosmic cycle to the present. Parallel with and in contrast to Empedocles’ tw o main theories of comparative morphology and of evolution. as they show’ Empedocles must have carried out some rudimentary anatomicalexperiments. Guesses are not excluded in science. and his interest unflagging. and we are not told how those guesses were arrived at/ Often. 92 . These will be discussed first. on the. from a more or less correct factual observation. For ex­ ample. Empedo­ cles drew wrong conclusions. but they take the form of provisional hypotheses. that his curiosity about the phenomena of life on this earth was insatiable. BIOLOGY The imaginative insights of Empedocles into the laws of biology are among the most interesting parts of his teaching: on the one hand. other. w e have many de­ tailed fragments telling us of the composition of various parts and organs of living bodies. But the elements in their pure form were undetectable. basic elements contained in each body and in its parts. T hey also make clear that always at the base of all his observations and experiments there was his preconceived idea of the proportions of the four. to be proved? true or false by subsequent experiments. Hence the proportions mentioned were pure.·. guesses.6. and one of air. and there was no way of analyzing a bone into its' constituent elements. four of fire. two: of water. he tells us that our bones are made up of definite propor-' tions of the elements of earth: one part of earth.

From these later. but blood could not rush out of them. through which the air could circulate. then. and dips it in the silvery water. But later. As the fingers of the girl stop up the tube of the water clock. at the fine ends of the perforated passage. for the air’s weight hinders it from inside. have since been proven fundamentally right. These include the circulation of the blood. Then the finger is withdrawn. there is then a gap through which . sometimes stopping the tubes with her tender fingers (in which case the water cannot flow out). respiration through the pores of the skin. because it is thicker than air. “All creatures breathe in and out in this way” says Empedocles. the air rushes in swirling in storm-like waves. As when a young girl. no water can penetrate at the other end. when the tender blood has retreated. the “resplendent water” cannot rush out.B iology 93 Some of Empedocles’ guesses. in all of them tubes of bloodless flesh are ranged along the surface of the body with tiny holes at their endings. when the girl frees the opening and lets out the thickened stream of the air. It is worth giving the whole fragment. once more em­ phasizing the kinship between all living beings. and its withdrawal makes creatures breath out. because it is held back by the air within the tube. In Empedocles’ view. closely placed together. and so it goes on alternatively. the body was perforated by invisible “bloodless” passages. bearing in mind that water here plays the role of the blood: Thus do all creatures breathe in and out. the air is again pushed out. anticipating scientific discovery by more than two thousand years. then letting it free. and the homo­ logue between similar organs in different animal species. so that they hold in the blood. the air being exhausted. however. playing with a clepsydra of gleaming bronze. however. The sys­ tem of breathing is described in detail in one of the longer and jfl0st beautiful fragments. puts her tender finger in the opening. the air rushes in from outside and pushes the water/blood down. where he compares the process to a clepsydra— a water-clock— with which a young girl is playing. but leave a free passage to the air.

In the same way. it breathes out A an equal part of the air. and becausc of tl· metaphorical expressions he uses. 3lB fr. He believes. when the water occupies the depths of the vessel.94 Biolag there enters a corresponding mass of water. which is not very far from the asce tained facts. Then. In the case of the water clock. that the embryo takes a distinct h man form after the 49th day. in the opposite direction. which. the air from outside. for it describes the process twice over. the tender blood branching throughout the limbs. ends and the second begins. Other details of the biological theories of Empedocles are thd concerning conception and pregnancy. when it swells back. although the air is too thick t penetrate inside. so to say. When the blood retreats to the inside of the bod| the air can rush in and perform whatever function it has to (oxjj genating the blood as we would say today). But the meanin' is clear: air cannot enter as long as the blood is near the surface though the blood cannot run out of the tiny passages. putting its strength against the gates of the resounding bronze until the hand is taken away. which he'1 it in while they let the air through. and the blood there plays the ro of the air. W e have already seen in Empedocles’ simile of the lantern. the air rushes in and the corresponding mass of water runs under and emerges. the air plays tfi role of the fire of the lantern. Because of his preconceived idea of the supremacy o . prevents the water from rushing out.. that the thinness of the fii can pass through its thin horn sides. In the same way. it is not always clear where t' first round. justifies to a certai extent Aristotle’s contention that Empedocles repeats himself vej often. though beautiful and poetic. Thus as the blood rush! towards the surface of the body. when it retreats backwards to the inner depths (of the body) the stream of air rushes in again. 100)f This fragment. when the entrance and the passage is again stopped by the human hand. air is pushed out and we hav breathing out. as well as the formation ίο the embryo. (DK. in swelling waves. probably through an autopsy on wom'e who died during pregnancy. imprisoned in the vessel.

He seems also to have applied him­ I· . (DOX. p. which would apply equally to each new-born baby: “The dampness in­ side the embryo recedes because of the dryness of the outer air and so the air rushes in to fill the emptiness thus created. the division of the sperm in too many parts. are produced because of the excess or deficiency of the sperm. The above is enough to show the detailed preoccupation of the philosopher with concrete and ascertainable facts. (DOX. or because of lack of breathing (presumably at the moment of birth) : “thus summing up all the possible causes. Side by side with some unfounded views.B iology 95 the male. or to the imagination of the woman at the moment of conception. vii) There are many other reports of points connected with Em­ pedocles’ views on pregnancy and conception of which. physical or mental: either to the humidity of the semen having evaporated. irregular movements dur­ ing the moment of conception. that women have fallen in love with statues of gods or heroes. which. that male children are nurtured 0n the “warmer” right-hand side of the womb and females on the left and cooler side. converging in the womb and feeding the embryo. Hippocrates. But he had astonishing insights into the pro­ creation of abnormal births. to one of two causes. and have then given birth to children resembling them. there is no hint in the existing fragments.” says Aetius. for it is Well-known. and his insights into the mechanism of these fundamental functions. 422) By Empedocles this is attributed.” (DOX. 422). however. we have flashes of insight that anticipate discoveries of our own century: children grow to re­ semble one or other of their parents because of the dom inance of the qualities in the sperm or the egg of that parent. his G y n a e c o lo g y ) knows about Em­ pedocles having located the four blood vessels. 411) And Soranus (cf. 420. De Genit. (cf. he says. pp. they issue out of the liver. he believed. Aetius reports a detailed description of how the first breath was taken by the first animal born. add­ ing that. according to Empedocles. two arteries and two veins. p.421) Twins are born because of the ascission of one fertilized egg. 8 . such as that some pregnancies last longer because the prehistoric day at first lasted ten months and was later reduced to eight. erroneously. he adds. p. says Aetius (DOX.

He has pithy characteristic adjectives for matvg kinds of trees that show acute observation: he talks about “late ripening pomegranates” and “apples with thick skin. PlutarcM admits he was puzzled by the word I have rendered by “thic skin. after so much crossing and care has been bestowed on it.” (PQC. and found “that it was applied to the apples because of theil abundant ripening. However. though the relevant fragments are few and short He maintained that the plants draw their nourishment from twö sources— the roots from the earth. Empedocles is said tg have applied the same general rules which inform his biology as4 whole and explained it as either because of the narrowness of tft passage to the womb. But the orginal meaning of the word “phloios” is skin or rind. 8 ..96 Biolog self to matters concerning the procreation of animals. influenced as always by Aristotle. by the poets. Moreover. that trees emerged before the animals and even before the su started on its course. we have no fragment concerning thi matter but only second-hand reports. so that they were parts of the earth in the sam way as embryos are part of the mother’s body.” The long duration of the apples’ prime and their plenti­ ful juice seems therefore to have inspired Empedocles to call the' that. even today.'. 431) Aetius goes on to explain that Empedocles attributed the diffe . A questio which exercised the minds of the ancient philosophers and of lat commentators was. thinks this ab ' surd. or because of the excessive thickness or thinl ness of the semen. for abundance and juicy ripening is called so . the use of the word “phloicr appears in the very next fragment. j Empedocles seems to have maintained (no fragment is extan. and wild appl are dry and astringent. Theophrastus. A cognate word was also applied to Dionysus. The apple is not a particularly juicy fruit. V. and the leaves from the ai.” This las caused great controversy among ancient commentators. (DOX. They were nourished by the heat of the in terior of the earth. . 2 . 683 D /E ) He asked some grammarians abou it. undoubtedly in the meaning have given it. p. but Empedocles’ conception has been grandly vindicated br modern science. why mules are sterile. they said. . ψ On plants Empedocles seems to have had as definite views as o’ animals and men. .

iv. or is it something else in addition to the law ?” In his M etaphysica (XII. whereas Empedocles stated that g row th was due to the action of w arm th on the roots.” says A ristotle “nature is the principle rather than m atter. w hich was not part of Em pedocles’ theory. an opinion voiced in Plato’s Phaedo by one of the T heban Pythagoreans present on the last day before Socrates’ death. T h e m ixture cannot be in the same propor­ tion as in flesh and bone fo r then there w ould be m any souls scat­ tered all over the body: “One w ould like to ask Empedocles the following: w hich of the tw o is a fact? Is the proportion the soul? Or rather does the soul. A ristotle begins w ith his usual “Empedocles is not rig h t in saying .” (APA. 642a) In de A nim a (I. w hich he could have easily ascer­ tained was false. .Biology 97 eiice betw een deciduous and evergreen plants to the difference of moisture inside the parts of the tree. before thev coalesced to form this creature) and after the elements com­ posing them w ere dispersed. This is no t worse than the ex­ ample A ristotle gives in one of his syllogisms. x. as w e have seen. believing the soul to be a harmonious relation betw een all the functions of the body. I. 1075) Aristotle takes up the same ques- . and of fire (presum ably the sun) on the leaves. Ancient criticism of Em pedocles’ biological views was generally adverse. or only of the one existing in accordance to the law?” “And is the soul the law. A ristotle therefore finds contradictions th at do not exist. Em ­ pedocles. ■ But. come into the limbs?” A nd again: “Is Love the cause of all the fortuitous mix­ tures. It is amazing how often ancient com m ent is adverse to precisely the parts of Empedocles’ doctrine that have been vindicated b y m odern science. being something else. the creatures w ere nothing at all. that plants w ith wide leaves shed them in winter. 408a) A ristotle continues the same argument. In general A ristotle’s criticism is bedeviled b y his ow n distinction betw een m atter or nature and form or spirit. T o cite one of m any examples: A ristotle criticized Em ­ pedocles’ repeated assertions that “before the elements came up to the light of day in the form of a lion or a m an” (that is. H e attacks the “pro­ portion” for the soul. ·. I. b u t in an obverse manner.” insisting that there must be one cause of birth and growth and not tw o. thought nothing about personal im m or­ tality.

: W e should note that. wfi attributed feelings to animals bu t not thought. and the m ore one regrets that so little of his biologic! w ritings have been preserved. in the fragm ent on respiration quotè. the m ore one wonder at his perspicacity. for instance. and < 1 compares digestion to ferm entation. But there is m ore than that: Eil pedocles realized that all living creatures have features that pe‘ form analogous functions. as against the idea that the most warm -blooded animals li in the sea to escape from the excess of heat in their nature. cern classes and not species of animals. and partly b y his inttf tive and imaginative conception of the kinship of all living crél tures: he had observed. Empedocles speaks of “all creatures” breathing in and ou In his belief th at everything living has a share in feeling arf thought.A ristotle’s criticism are m ore justified. 477b) Theophrastus follows A ristotle’s criticism in about tÜ| same words. £ O ther parts of. w hich are in fact quite related to Empedocles’ theory. Comparative M orphology. Hene w e have to distinguish betw een an apparent dissimilarity of fo ri and a basic resemblance in the functions they perform : feedin .98 Biolqg tion again. different shapes and textures resul ing from the contingent form ation of the various species. ift spired partly by his medical knowledge. | T h e m ore one reads and ponders over Empedocles’ few arf scattered fragm ents on biological questions. earlier. H e made m any w rong guesses. w ho says that the Hijjj pocrateans call digestion w hat Empedocles calls fermentation. for e ample. of the fragm ents but is attested by Galen. though their contingent variety ma give these features. or organs. This is not contained in an·. he differed from the Pythagorean doctor Alcmeon. b|S his discovery of the circulation of the blood and of the invisibl respiration th rough the skin are sufficient to establish his claim . posing the same dilemmas.t be a forerunner of m odern science in biology. plants and phenomena. that there is fermentation '' you leave w ater inside a container made from tree-bark. | T h ere are some general laws in Empedocles’ biology which co. w hich thought no phenom enon unw orthy o attention. (AD XIV .

82) “The same” means that they serve the same purpose: to protect the body from the w eather or from the medium in w hich each species lives. (DK. 3IB fr. so much fire. T h e follow ing fragm ent should be interpreted in the same way. T he decisive fragment is: Hair and skin and the foliage of trees. as is shown b y the w o rd “manes” and “back. T h is is the first appearance in history of c o m p a ra tiv e m orphology as a coherent and general notion. 3IB fr. hence its protective covering of hair has decayed. . T h e foli­ age protects the fruit. and of man. 82) Plutarch assumes the hedgehog’s bristles to correspond to weapons of attack: teeth. especially as regards the bones of the higher mammals named b y Aristotle. “those of the lion. likewise on the hedgehog’s back manes grow with sharp-pointed bristles. and the scales of fish.” One of A ristotle’s objections was based on Em pedo­ cles’ statem ent th at bones w ere constituted of so m uch w ater.. im plying that all bones w ere constituted in the same way. etc. T he human race has learned to cover its body w ith alien skins or w oven ma­ terials.) and the sexual organs. . and hence the seed. of the ox. despite Plutarch’s objection. remain­ ing only over its most vulnerable parts: the skull and the eyes (to sh ie ld them from sweat and flying particles of dust etc. claws. whose “shaggy” character Empedocles so frequent­ ly stresses. (PF. are the same on their sturdy limbs. or to p rotect the seed from enem y attacks. procreating. stings. (DK. from w ind and rain as the thick skin or pelt protects the terrestrial animals. and the thick plumage of birds.Biology 99 protecting.” Aristotle considers this an irrefutable reductio ad absurdum. 3. under which the most varied phenomena m ay be subsumed. Another stupendous analogy in comparative m orphology is con­ tained in the following few words: . but m odern biology sides w ith Empedocles. 98D) But Empedocles meant to compare the bristles to hair.

w ere there produced the various forms we have seen. nor speech. w ho also fashioned m en out of clay. W e have already seen the horrid represen­ tations of monsters. . greatly in color and shape. w hich w ere created b y the havoc w rought b. (DK.” Empedocles’ conception of the original form s of the huma species was no doubt influenced b y current m ythological ideas· out of the earth the cosmic fire. w ho m oulded the forms in clay. This happened gradually. In the eggs of birds as 1 fruit. differing s. of “men and the much-be m oaned (or deserving of tears) women. w ithin each cycjg o f the cosmic process. 64) But there is also another version of a desirabl creation b y Am ity. O m itting m any m ore interesting details about variotf biological phenomena. T h ey wer. having practically no likeness to human forqj T h en fire separated the tw o sexes. Strife. Evolution. give birth to their eggs . b u t ga . all those monsters. after it first disturbed the uneffable harm ony and unity < j the Sphairos. in Empedocles’ view. | 79 )' T h e analogy is marvelous and thorough. 73) This version is obviously modi led on Prometheus. rushing to m eet its ow n kin— tH fire in the ether or sky— threw up crude lumps of earthly creature w ho had no distinct limbs. 3 IB fr. 3IB fr. and their nature was cleat* ly separated. and first among them the olive-tree. 3 IB fr. and only graduall. as the mild-mannereçl onrush of A phrodite penetrated into the middle of the vortex anä started to form harmonious combinations. s ” rounded b y nourishing stuff. . (D K . the semen is in the m iddle (in the kernel or the yolk). Then.100 Biolôg Thus the tall trees. (D K . uijî able to feed themselves or to procreate. 3 IB fr. for not “blamelessly” did A phrodite gain tH“ upper hand. w e come to the picture Empedocles formé' in his m ind about the origin of living creatures. 62) M em ory (it is not clear whethe it is the m em ory of the time w hen bo th sexes w ere united. and gave them to quick fire to mall them resistant. as i Plato’s Sym posium ) aided b y sight made them desire each othe’ (DK. “a w onder to behold. T h e process was long and painful. then dippe or sprinkled them in w ater. died one b y one. chancy creations. nor genitals.

As Empedocles is more a biologist than a physicist. it is explained that some of the animals have the soft parts of their body outside. occur again and again. believed in the self-same repetition of every single event in every [ cosmic cycle. but has to w ork w ith the materials— the . It also reminds us of "Thetis holding Achilles over the fire to make him invulnerable and of Dem eter doing the same to Triptolem os. while others are hard outside and soft inside. 95) Modern com m entators have seen parts of the biological theory of Empedocles as a prim itive anticipation of D arw in’s theory of evolution. She plays the role of the final cause. j The forms pouring out w hen Strife w ithdraw s are of myriads . and in the contrast­ ing picture of origin through Am ity. -fhe expressions “as they happen to m eet” and “b y the will of chance.” and others like them. as for Darwin. 3 IB fr. b u t only so far as fortuitous circumstances allow. T h e contingency is ac­ counted for b y Empedocles through the ever-continuing contest between Strife and Am ity. creating m any unfit creatures.” and his determ ination as to the gen­ eral lines of the cosmic cycle is tem pered b y an awareness of the great variety of living creatures and plants th at he observes. for A m ity is not entirely free to fashion the creatures she wants. there a little less. T he Pythagoreans. Nature is a spendthrift. Equally in the basic picture of original monsters com bining in unnatural and unharmonious shapes and surviving only if they were able to feed themselves or to procreate.Biology 101 them fire to use consciously m uch later. this role of chance. chance plays a decisive role. suggests— though Em1 pedocles does not say so explicitly— that the retu rn of the cosmic cycle need not be absolutely identical each time. however—at least those of the second and third generation— influenced b y the unchanging qualities of numbers. he stresses repeatedly the “ here a little more. until some succeed in surviving in sufficient numbers and procreating descen­ dants also adapted to their surroundings. life is contingent. “hav­ ing chanced to be moulded in this w ay in the palms of A m ity.” (DK. elements and their combinations— w hich she happens each tim e to have at her disposal. F o r Empedocles. This contingency. F or example.

From these grew the bio and all the other kinds of flesh. Each in its ow n w ay grow s the appropriate organs t pro tect itself against the outer w orld and the other living orga . Summing up Empedocles’ theories of evolutip and of comparative m orphology. w hich could also be “a w onder to behold. 17. Even air as an element “sometimes upon its course happened to run. “E arth came together b y chance w ith the other three (w ith fir' and w ater and the resplendent ether). equally well fitt ’ to their environment. at other times otherwise. One could imagine another m ultitude. in the cosmic proci life is bound to come after the Sphairos is broken up b y Strif w hen A m ity painfully drives him back and begins m oulding in her loving palms the various species. (DK. H ow ever. but running through each other. T h e y are also co ' tingent. But m any fragm ents indicate th at the evolution in each o the cosmic cycles is no t bound to the identical form s of the previ­ ous ones: These (the elements) are forever themselves. either a little less or a littl m ore in relation to the other quantities. and: In so far as these never end changing throughout. From the elements that “hap­ pened to come together. 26) Sum m ing up.102 Biologi of varieties. extended eve to the plants. 3 IB fr. but running through each other they become at times different. yet are forever and ever the same.” (D K . 53) Life is contingent in its forms. and: For they (the elements) are always themselves. 21 .” (DK* 3IB fr.” there will always be an ordered organic w orld. they take on various forms and shapes. so much does the mixture change them. according to all sorts of models. 3lB fr. 98) This fragme is of capital im portance. in so far they are immovable in a circle. w e m ust stress four points: (a) His view of the unity of all living organisms.

w ithout consciousness. w ithout separ­ ate beings. C ertainly the cosmic cycle is decreed b y fate. no tw o branching arms. skin. one after the other. one of the tw o cosmic forces (and the only divine power Empedocles worships) shapes everything in her “loving palm s:” our eyes and bones and the tall trees. or grief. all are equally ephemeral. (d) T h e part played b y chance is clearly set forth. etc). A t the appropriate time. “are the same” : they perform the same function. w ithout earth. G reat Strife. no sw ift moving knees.Biology 103 isms. and the race of m en and tearful w om en as well as the long-lived bu t not eternal gods. m eeting and separating as the move­ ment carries them along. scales. H arm ony. sea. (c) T o the question of w hether the w hole cycle comes round again and again ow ing to purely mechanistic laws. rising to honors. it is difficult to give an answer. (b) In O n N ature there is no scale of values. w hirling about. Each form of life is able to reproduce itself. and the scaly monsters of the deep. and is every time identical. w ithout gods. or “the immeasurable heights of the air” . All “breathe in and out. or Amity. the hedgehog. I t follows th at all creatures have organs and functions that have m uch in common. etc. will penetrate to the center and set the w hole process going: “T h e limbs of the god (the Sphairos) shook all over. the lions. and become one whole.” “the abundant spawn of feh. the tall trees. T h e Sphairos will at some tim e be broken j up. T h ey w ere nothing at all be­ fore the elements th at form them coalesced and they will be noth­ ing once these have separated. the elements are already flying apart. All the creatures together make the w orld “a w onder to behold:” the voiceless fish. the fru it of the trees” are “the same. the bush and the fish and the lions are as m uch the object of the care of K ypris as the race of men. th ey will all be gathered together in the Sphairos. joy. “Desiring its kindred b y the force of love. either the above is a poetic image or it means th at the Sphairos has already ceased being itself.” Love. But while the visible w orld lasts. Even feeling j and thinking are produced in living beings “b y the will of .” Since the Sphairos itself has no limbs (no m anly head. w ithout qualities.” all “rejoice and grieve” w hen the elements that compose them adhere together or fall apart. T herefore hair. sun.

and “from the Netberw orld bring back the vital force of a man already dead.” all these in­ cline us to believe that only the great lines of the cosmic cycle are? predeterm ined. Is it too fanciful to detect a note of hesitancy in the words “X think?” Yet the pow er of man can be increased a hundredfold.” by “w hat they happen to come across. I l l ) This last statem ent certainly contradicts the assertion . 3lB fr. the flying apart of the. driving Strife to the oute^ edges of the cosmos. 3IB fr. But contingency or’ chance is compelling. and at other times a little less. 16) . and as Empedocles promised tö his disciple Pausanias. w ho (Empedocles says) m ay win master| over nature.” etc. will immeasurable time be emptied of them both. and different forms m ight result in the future. This suggests that the last details of the cosmic cycle are not predeter* m ined and that the sway of H arm ony m ay be at times more. Design is therefore superimposed otf blind chance and is m ore or less successful.” “by the will of chance. hinder the winds or call them fo rth according td human interest.. for Love and Strife: As the two were of old.” O nly gradual^ w ill A phrodite penetrate to the center. the profusion of pro­ creation. (DK. H ow ever. T he hint is too dim to build upon and Em-. and m ould in her palms harmonious’creature! able to survive and to reproduce themselves. only p art of w hich will survive. fo r a solu­ tion. as the lines on Pythagoras suggests. and perhaps have existed in the past. in such-and-such proportions. This contingency of the details leaves a crack open in the iron walls of the inescapable circle for a better arrangement. the great variety of! the form s of life each devouring the other. T h e actual results are fortuitous. she is ηόΐ all-powerful.” (DK. chance.104 Biolo'g. like a salvation. so they’ll always be. w hich stupid people call “baneful death. produce rain out of drought and vice-versa. she has to w ork w ith w hat happens to be at hand and to make the best of contingencies— the lucky m eeting of such-and such at such-and-such a time. nor ever. I think. pedocles does not seem to have seriously envisaged it. T he repetition of expressions such as they' “m et b y chance. fin| medicines against all ills and against old age. elements.

Auguste Com te defined the purpose of modern science as to “understand nature in order to master it. as well as in his first sketch of a theory of evolution and in his in­ sights into comparative m orphology. Empedocles is far more modern than is usually acknowledged. T he perspectives this opens are limitless.” This is the same as the view expressed b y Empedocles. In this. . and can reassemble them after they have dispersed. More than a cen tu ry ago. F or if man can prevent their dissolution b y averting old age.B iology 105 that death and b irth are mere names given b y witless men to the coalescence and dispersion of the elements. man must have penetrated to the inner secrets of nature and grasped the pattern according to w hich the elements can combine to produce live beings.

such as the O rphic and Dionysiae mysteries. 279b. some influence b y older legends embodied in the religious traditions of the Greeks (especially b y H esiod’s T h eo g o n y). Empedocles no doubt experience 106 .7.” (AC. as we as the Assyrian and Babylonian epics and the occult oral narratio of generations of Chaldean and Egyptian priests. others influenced b y im ported cults. 301a) This repetition however isn’t apparent in those scraps of sentences that the ancient commenta? tors have transm itted to us. In building up his cosmology. there is hardly a fragm ent of m ore than tw o lines that deals w ith any part of his cosm ology— on either astronom y or his general notions of th heavenly bodies etc. Indeed. and it cannot be a coinci­ dence that it is the part on w hich w e have the fewest fragments. Empedocl m any times. O n the other hand. F or exampl Xenophanes and Pherekydes stipulated m any coexistent univers w ith o u t any connection betw een them. Anaxagoras only once. T his p art of his theory is the weakest. A ristotle takes a hostile view tow ards all those “w ho make the heavens come into existence. 17. These are also v ery discontinued and brief. several other phil­ osophers had also tried to describe the creation. COSMOLOGY W e refer to Empedocles’ “cosm ology” rather than his “cosmog­ o ny” because he did no t believe in an absolute and unique creation of th e universe b u t in a constant repetition of the emergence of the w orld after the periodically recurring peace of the Sphairos in1 w hich everything is m erged together.

it has been calculated th at each year on earth corresponds to tw o minutes of that long year. w hich contains the sun. W e have therefore to tu rn to second-and third-hand evidence to form a picture of w hat Empedocles believed to be the repeated process of the w o rld ’s creation. W e know from Empedocles’ extensive fragm ents on the cyclic process that in the Sphairos there was no sun or m oon or stars. the . W e have already m entioned that the “long year” of the Babylonians probably contributed to the form ation of his idea of an eternal recurrence. whirled round by the fire. Then the fire ran out in a circle and the air. having nowhere else to go and compressed by the fire. this evidence proves highly unreliable w hen it is compared w ith Empedocles’ ow n few remaining fragm ents. w hich makes the Babylonian “long year” correspond to 262. at first air was created all round.Cosmology 107 the same influences. H ow ever. two hemispheres were created. 40) conveys little w hen preceded b y nothing and followed by nothing. after the disturbance of the Sphairos.” this num ber m ust be multiplied b y sixty. Then. held in equilib­ rium by the swift rotation of tw o hemispheres. .800 earthly years. each earthly year corres­ ponds to tw o seconds of the “long year. Eustathios (w ho admits he got his inform ation from Clemens. However. his cosmology does not go back as far as this and w e can reconstruct from various reports that Empedocles believed the earth to lie in the middle of the visible universe. T he explanations given b y the early com m entators m ust often be re­ jected. . as expounded b y Em­ pedocles: . . as other scholars maintain. but if. who asserts he had it from Theophrastus) gives a long and con­ fused account of the original creation. the one consisting wholly of fire. 3 IB fr. In addition to their shortness and lack of connection. became frozen. the extant fragments referring to Empedocles’ cosm ology are beset b y his unfortunate tendency to clothe his views in allegorical or poetic expressions that add little to our knowledge and at times make for confusion: “the sharp-arrow ed sun and the mild-shining m oon” (DK. one light and one dark: the light one being a hemisphere of fire.

and that she has her light from the sun. * that the sun is a great mass of fire. is described b y Empedocles not as spherical. w e m ust remember ) included the sun and the m oon) roam freely under the dome.108 Côsmologfo other of air mixed with a little fire. and one of the| sun (w hich is considered b y the astronomers m uch m ore difficult). 77) Thus. 258) adding that it was Thales the Milesian w ho first said that the m oon is lighted b y the sun. in view of the fact that T hales | accurately predicted several eclipses of the moon. similar to the reflection thrown back by a surface of water. 31B fr. he goes on. which was frozen like hail. 922C) Aëtius also mentions “the|| m oon’s disclike shape” (D O X . is not by its nature a mass of fire. of the consistency ol hail.” (PQ R . 1 T he Moon. T o return to the shape of the m oon and its relation to the earth: Plutarch (probably the source of Diogenes Laertius’ ' story) states: “T h e shape of the moon. The latter is. the dark hemisphere. (DOX. Many? other sources attribute this statem ent to Thales. and that it is larger than the moon. These holes 1 are the fixed stars. Em­ pedocles says that the moon was constituted of old as an inde.* be located outside of it. but rather : a disc or a lens. according to . (PO L. and j the sky is a fixed crystal dome. The sun that we see. in Empedocles’ i f opinion. 5.' pendent body by the air escaping from the fire. 562) T h e m ost coherent though very short report on Empedocles’ cos­ m ology is given b y Diogenes Laertius: “H e [Empedocles] says. 288B) H e adds th at Empedocles be­ lieves the moon to be a rock of frozen air. (DK. it is not the sky that rotates. but is a reflection of that fire.10. T h e moon. The beginning of the movement „ was caused by the collection (of elements) being disturbed and rarefied by the onrush of fire. this report. on the other hand. and it is not improbable th at the report is true. 1 0 1 . V III. 18. 1. w hich changes tw ice in a m onth. has the shape of a lens.| In a v ery beautiful single line of verse Empedocles tells us: Æ In a round orbit revolves round the earth the alien light. while the planets (which. surrounded b y fire. In the crystal dome of the sky there are holes through w hich the fire of the outer space shines.” (DL. 45) . and the hemispheres must .

” (DO X. 350) One fragm ent relating to the moon runs thus: [the moon] covers and hides its [the sun’s] brilliance when it goes over it and plunges into darkness so much of the earth as the width of the blue-eyed crescent extends. w hich shows how greatly Anaxagoras had freed his em inent pupil from current superstitions that eclipses were harbingers of calamity. A nd the expedition pro­ ceeded as planned. m ust be m eant by: Thus the light (of the sun) struck the wide circle of the moon. b u t Pythagoras and Parmenides as well as Em ­ pedocles “taught likewise.Cosmology 109 The same thing. Anaxagoras exerted considerable influence upon Pericles. 45) Aëtius asserts th at n o t only Thales held that the m oon takes her light from the sun. b u t w ho began publishing his w orks later. T h e sailors. terrified. and a total eclipse of the m oon in 413 B. Anaxagoras. who. and Plutarch. xxxv) Yet the superstition lived on. knew th at eclipses are caused b y the earth’s shadow intervening between the sun and the moon. 3IB fr. (DK. though stated m ore vaguely. Pericles however simply covered his face for a few moments w ith his mantle and then uncovered it. (DK. was a m ajor factor in the Athenian catastrophe in Sicily. men­ tions the follow ing story. there occurred an eclipse of the sun. 47) I shall make so bold as to suggest a very naive interpretation: this probably refers to the w onderful sight w hen the full m oon rises . “Has anything terrible happened?” he asked. was a few years older than Empedocles. A nother fragm ent has given rise to a lot of conjecture: She [the moon] looks straight onto the sacred face of her lord. (DK. in his life of Pericles. (PP.C. 31B fr. clamored fo r a postpone­ ment of the expedition. standing opposite him. according to Aristotle. 3lB fr. W hen an expedition led b y Pericles was about to sail. 42) This takes care of the partial eclipses of the sun caused b y the moon. or warnings from the gods.

” and then adds the following description of Em pedocles’ view (which m ust have originated from a genuine fragm ent. T h e Sun.” (DO X. w hich is a re­ flection of the first. who. bu t that the moon is lighted by a reflection falling through darkness and night. Plutarch concludes that “nothing is left b u t to accept Empedocles’ view that the light does not fall from one b right star (the sun) onto another (the m oon). PO L. antici­ pated scientific research by tw en ty centuries. as the “echo of a voice is weaker than the voice itself.” (PO L.925B) This makes the moon as nearly a satellite as the ancients had conceived this notion— the “em brace” being the earth’s attraction— and shows once more the grandeur of Empedocles. and reaching us more weakly.110 Cosmology just as the sun is sinking and stands diametrically to him in the vault of heaven. H e first states: “But Aëtius says that Empedocles believes the m oon is tw ice as far from the sun as she is from the earth. It is too little. as Plutarch is in­ capable of such pithy ways of putting things) : “T h e m oon is very far from the sky (meaning the crystal dom e) bu t is so near the earth th at it almost touches it and revolves in its immediate neigh­ bourhood. 350. fo r w hich we have no relevant fragm ent. 929E) T h at is about all w e can gather about the moon in Empedocles’ cosmology. W e have already mentioned Eustathios’ confused statem ent of Em pedocles’ idea of tw o suns: a fiery one travelling in the invisible hemisphere. M any such fragments. leave us w ith a fine picture in our minds. 9 . bu t w ithout any understanding of the deeper significance of the phenomenon. detached from their con­ text. is quoted b y Plutarch. b v sheer intuitive guessing. But Empedocles’ most astonishing statem ent about the moon. It should be stressed that the only extant frag­ m ent w hich rem otely touches on this view states: . and the one that w e see. w hich w ere the only means of research he had at his disposal. Despite a num ber of objections on several points. 16. but still enough to show his insatiable curiosity and the w ay he reached a num ber of correct conclusions from the v ery im perfect sense data. it somehow seems to graze its (the earth’s) skin and re­ volve in the earth’s embrace.

T hat is about all th at Empedocles tells us in the extant frag­ ments. showing the su­ premacy of the sun: Let me tell you first of the sun as the beginning of all by which everything that we now see became apparent. it w ould show that. humid and dry) bedeviled later G reek philoso­ phy. It might equally well mean the heavenly abode of the gods towards which the sun throw s its rays just as m uch as to the earth. Empedocles was free from the prejudice of the ab­ solute determ ination of up and down. In this interpretation. so to say. It makes it possible fo r us to see all that w e see: all the elements in their tangible form s— the earth. bu t this makes little sense since Olym pus is not the only place lighted b y the sun. the great oceans. (DK. created the now existent w orld. 41) Obviously the sun plays a preponderent part in Empedocles’ cosmology.Cosmology 111 [the sun] throws back its light towards Olympus with a fearless face. (DK. the sun w ould be quite free to throw light in all directions: up tow ards the sky as well as dow n towards the earth. But w e have m any reports. the air. w hich (along with cold and hot. mythological terms. In w hat sense is Olym pus used here? It might mean the m ountain in the N o rth of Greece. 3lB fr. whose explo­ sion. It is part and parcel of the original fire. 3lB fr. (DK. 3IB fr. right and left. Also this frag­ ment includes Em pedocles’ unfortunate habit of using ambiguous. I t circumscribes our horizon by its orbit round the earth. like the other pre-Socratics. from A ristotle on. wanders round the great circle of the sky. 38) and the other fragm ent consisting of only one line: He [the sun] gathering his power together. T here are tw o other short fragments. One of the most astonishing statements attributed to him is reported b y A ristotle (as usual in adverse criti­ . If we accept the second interpretation. that he said much m ore on this subject. and the primeval fire itself. 44) prom his single w o rd “back” it is difficult to build up these theo­ ries about a double sun and an invisible hemisphere.

it m ight escape our notice. as Anaximander thought. . 26) W e know now th at light-waves do in fact travel through space. 418b) H e embroiders on this in another w ork: “Empedocles says that the light reaches first the space betw een us and its source. is placed along their route. “and w hoever else holds the same view. 6 . O ther Observations. w ith w hich he m ust have been familiar living so near M ount Etna. or great rain.” (D K . such as: “T h e rainbow brings either w ind from the sea. and that wher­ ever a human eye.· and only later comes to us. It is too m uch to ask us to believe it. are no t right in sayi.” he' says. 3 IB fr. 50) and his re. by the equal and opposite attraction of other celestial bodies. ported statem ent that “M any fires burn under the floor [of tH! earth]. 3IB fr. 52) by w hich he explains the intermittent explosions of volcanoes. due to the time the sunlight takes to reach us.” (ΑΑ·> II. also consisting of only a single line of1 verse. or. but th at w e do no t perceive it during all its course from east to w est in the space in betw een (the sky and the earth) is nbP reasonable or possible. or an instrum ent w ith the same properties. held in equilibrium by the swift rotation of thetw o hemispheres. ing th at light is traveling from the sun through all that distance'. (DK.” (ADS. A ristotle was m uch exercised b y the problem of how the light reaches us if it travels from the sun to the earth: “Empedocles. vii. standing over the source of light. Em pedocles’ cosm ology includes som| meteorological observations. This is the reverse of what w e now lcno\ÿ to be the case. 446a.112 Cosmolo cism) to the effect that Empedocles thought w e see the sun setting before it actually does. raises another issue: Night is created by the earth.” (DK. 48) This demonstrates Empedocles’ belief that the earth is unattached. hovering in space. it receives the rays and records their image. for if it was a question of a small distance. 3 IB fr. He also believed thati the sun goes under the earth in its rotation.. But it is based on the correct hypothesis that there is a discrepancy between our perception and the actual position o " the sun. One other fragm ent.

w hich in its tu rn compresses the earth. Fire. who maintains throughout the absolute distinction of up and down. Both are quoted b y Aristotle. T h ough his explanation is w rong. W e have already m entioned that he described the m oon as consisting of a frozen part of the air. T he first asserts: “T he 3ir penetrates into the earth b y long roots. 338) T w o fragm ents quoted b y m any com m entators have given rise to derision. 5) T h e other consists of three words: “T he sea is a perspiration of the earth. In tw o other fragm ents Empedocles presents contradictory pic­ tures. the earth.” (DK. It is a trem endous explosion. in yet another fragm ent he states correctly that w ater evaporates under the w arm th of the sun.” (AM L. rose through the air by its nature and remains aloft. This sequence contradicts parts .” says Aëtius. “the poles w ere filled and the N o rth Pole rose higher than the South Pole. 334a. having the consistency of hail. This occurs before the monsters existed and even before there was earth or sky. w e can form a somewhat vague picture of how Empedoles imagined the periodic creation of the universe. so the whole w orld got this bias. A ir escaped first and surrounded the kernel. 446a) T o Aristotle. T h ough in these fragm ents he only once mentions the four elements as his theoretical foundation. 54. In another fragm ent he states that “salt is solidified b y the warm waves (rays) of the sun. V I.” (DK. The Overall Picture. they are always there in the background. 3 IB fr. 3 IB fr. T he beginning of each cycle is the havoc created b y Strife. AGG. the first seemed the height of absurdity. in w hich the elements are separated from each other. 56) H ow ever. From the fragm ents already quoted. one can­ not help w ondering how he knew about the fact of the inclination: “Through the air increasing by the impetus of the sun. com ing at once after it. leaving the solid particles of salt. and the m any comments b y later w riters.” (D O X . In the cosmology this disturbance is traced to its very first root. m aking it exude all the hum idity that dwells in it—hence the “perspiration” which also gives rise to the seas. exercising a trem endous pres­ sure on the air.Cosmology 113 An attem pt was also made by Empedocles to explain the inclina­ tion of the earth’s axis.

Some of the de­ fects of his cosmology m ay be due to the very few and short frag­ ments that refer to it.114 Cosmologà of Empedocles’ biology in w hich he describes the oceans comintr before the earth. Ii h an original view. but w e have no explicit expression of it in the fragm ents of other philosophers. w hich emerged gradually b y evaporation' through the heat of the sun. F urther. hemisphere— b u t mixed with . Even as it is. unsupported b y any experience. (It is relatively unimportant to this th eo ry w hether it is the earth that travels.Γς are so m any reports that the theory m ust have been asserted. W e m ust conclude that the cosmology of Empedocles shows little of the consistency of such other parts of his doctrine as the th eory of elements and the theory of sensation.) It appears that the assertion that the m oon is an “alien light” was cu rren t in Em pedocles’ time. and faces the airy one. 11κ. Several apparently absurd statements might have fallen into place if w e had m ore and longer extracts from his exposition building up a m ore elaborate and coherent picture of his cosmology. T h ough w e have no fragm ent about the tw o hemispheres.D. T h e fact that-Me constantly face the colder. This explanation assumes th at the rotation of the hemispheres involves the earth as well. and revolving so to stay in its embrace. Finally the theory that the planets are nearer to the earth than ar .1 little fire— requires an effort of the imagination. Plutarch’s later astonishing expression about th m oon “almost grazing the skin of the earth. so that it is always held in the same position in relation to i hc hemispheres.” must surely have been copied from a part o Empedocles’ w o rk accessible to him (50-125 A. several inspiring theories show a grandeur of imagination. Empedocles’ observation th at there are total as well as partial eclipses— the moon “throw ing its shadow on the earth as far as its crescent can covcr” — is valuable.) bu t lost to u. These are: th at the sun is at a greater distance from the earth than is the moon. or the sun which goes under it in his daily circuit. that night is caused by he earth interposing its bulk and blocking the rays of the sun. that light travels from the sun to the earth and takes a cer­ tain time to reach it. as the m oon faces the earrh w ith only one of its surfaces. airy. and a grasp of fundam ental truths.

free from superstitions and opening a w ide field of in­ vestigation. w ithin the bounds of his general th eo ry about the tw o hemispheres and the visible sun being a reflection of the real one. it also provides deep insights and. In conclusion. in the w ords of Aristotle. it m ight possibly have provided the basis for a further developm ent of astronomical knowledge. although Empedocles’ cosmology contains several untenable ideas. .Cosmology 115 the fixed stars can be inferred from Empedocles’ statem ent that the planets “roam ” beneath the crystal dome w hich form s the out­ most boundaries of the sensible world. U nfortunately. after Soc­ rates the search fo r nature’s secrets ceased to prevail among phil­ osophers.

(DK. CONVERSION R eferring to the Sphairos in O n N ature. 29) In the second w ork. on all sides equal unto itself. repeating some of the above expression w ord for. 631if| Bignone churns over the fragm ents of On N ature. it has no feet or swift-moving knees. w hich w e follow 116 . (DK. 28) f And: From its back no twin branching arms are swinging. 3lB fr. 3lB fr. by his swift thoughts encompassing the entire universe. or sexual organ shaggy. It is a sphere. w ith b u t one characteristic difference: For his limbs are not proudly crowned by a man-like head nor do two branching arms from his back swing. 134) T h e similarity of the three passages is so striking that such a great scholar on Empedocles as E ttore Bignone suggests that thp third fragm ent should be included in O n N ature. placing them ip a quite different order from that of Diels-Kranz. w e have again a passage on the Sphairos. (BE. the rounded Sphairos. (DK. 3IB fr. or sexual organ shaggy. exultant in surrounding solitude. he has no feet or swift-moving knees. w ord. H e’s all one sacred ineffable mind·. on all sides equal and altogether infinite.8. Empedocles says: But he. the Purifications.

exclud­ ing the opposite qualities. w e are plunged straightway into the theological controversies about the possibil­ ity of the Supreme Being having ordered parts. in encompassing every­ thing. This everything cannot be itself. and denies it an ab­ solute universality. Bignone is influenced b y his preconception that Empedocles was a m ystic from the start. This vision of the Sphairos resembles m ore Xenophanes’ conception of the “divine. the addition of those few w ords changes totally the significance of the Sphairos and adds to the already inherent contradiction of the expression “all round equal to itself and al- . on the other hand. w hich tries to retain the Sphairos. all thought. etc. all ears. since the Sphairos is not a “creature” bu t the amalgamation of the whole of the universe. and its relation to them. In addition to the third fragm ent just quoted (fragm ent 134) he also assigns fragm ents 131-133 to the earlier w ork. has gathered unto itself all that there is. w hich w e contest. W e are rem inded of the definition of Spinoza: “Omnis qualification est negatio. w e accept th at the Sphairos. but changes its character totally. b y stressing the belief of Empedocles that all creatures have feeling and a “share in thought.” A nd this negation is introduced in the Purifications. Empedocles sets it apart from the elements which make up the whole stuff of the w orld. and be contem poraneous w ith it. In Fragment 134. T here is no question in the first w ork of any conscious­ ness or thought. But the w ords “one sacred ineffable m ind” make all the differ­ ence. T h e Sphairos. In any case. but does not breathe or perform any other biological functions such as sleeping. If. T here is no sun or m oon or thickly w ooded earth or living beings or gods. H e glosses over the difference of the third fragm ent from the other two. outside the world. surveys' its own parts and their order. renum bering them I09a-109d. T h e Sphairos can only be defined negatively. for b y now attributing to it con­ sciousness and thought. since it comprises the whole in an inconceivable unity. the Sphairos traverses “everything” b y its swift thoughts.” w hich is all eyes. the final and initial stage of each cosmic cycle.Conversion 117 here. H ence the Sphairos is here transcendent. though it m ay exist parallel to it. eating. to w hich the addition of any qualification w ould mean a limitation.” T h at is hardly satisfying.

w hich ran riot after Pytha­ goras’ disappearance. am ounting to w hat w e w ould now call a conversion. This makes it im-· possible to accept Bignone’s suggestion that fragm ent 134 formed part of the earlier w ork. This presupposed a survival. but its members kept an inner cohesion and could still impose penalties on those w ho transgressed against their rules. before Empedocles and Philolaos. w hich it is able to survey at one glance. Empedocles experienced a far-reaching change in his views and outlook. however. caused his conversion was the Pythagorean teaching of the trans­ m igration of the soul. this change in Empedocles’ conception of the Sphairos leaves little doubt that at some time in his life. T here is also a m uch-contested story of an alleged letter from Telauges accusing Empedocles of such a transgression. which returns to earth in m any forms of life. In the first he was supposed to be the son of the god Ares. W h a t interested Empedocles and probably. I t is m ost probable that this happened w hen he be­ came acquainted w ith and was received into the inner circle of the Pythagoreans. In addition to m any other traits differentiating the tw o works. together infinite.” b y placing the Sphairos outside the existing w orld. w ho had be­ come the friend of Empedocles. T h e school itself had long been dispersed. one of w hich was the prohibition of m aking certain parts of their doctrine known to the uninitiated. th at Empedocles ab­ sorbed nothing of the mathematical side of the Pythagorean teach­ ing. none of the central theory had been made public. n o r of the m ystique of numbers. Diogenes Laertius states that. T his Telauges. was a son of Pythagoras. whd promised to grant him anything he asked for. It is certain. " Pythagoras himself was know n to have maintained that he had already lived m any times. except immortalit Pythagoras asked to be able to rem em ber his previous incarnations each time th at he returned to earth. T h e contradictions about the life of Philolaos are so great and con­ fusing that this inform ation is not m uch help in dating the adher­ ence of Empedocles to the Pythagorean school. and certainly after he had com­ pleted O n N ature.118 Conversion. One of the four names men- . bu t sure­ ly a son of his old age. conscious or unconscious (it makes no difference). of the individual soul. and could name four of his incarnations.

Also the aspect of H eraclitus’ teach­ ing. 7B fr. In some of the fragm ents of the Purifications. and a bush and a bird and a mute fish in the salty waves. though he had long been familiar w ith the Ephesian philosopher’s concept of the cosmic cycle. and though the leather parts of it had rotted. One fragm ent (already quoted in connection w ith the perigee of A m ity’s reign) begins: . of their long b u t n o t eternal life. m ay have come to the foreground of Empedocles’ thought at that period. T he Pythagoreans. (DK. For I have at times already been a boy and a girl. This leads us to surmise that the Pythagorean doctrine was not the onlv source of Empedocles’ conversion. He was slain b y Menelaus. such as from the O rphic and other occult sects w hich w ere rife in G reater G reece in his time. though n o t all. (DK.” from w hich w e all could draw if we only knew how. 117) A nother change th at occurred in Em pedocles’ outlook and be­ comes apparent in the Purifications is a deep sense of sin. faithful to his view of the kinship of all creatures. w ho brought back Euphorbos’ shield to Sparta as part of his w ar booty. not incom patible w ith it bu t not explicitly contained in it. T he shield still existed in P ytha­ goras’ time. Diogenes Laertius (DL. while Empedocles. but that he absorbed other mystical doctrines. and a m ore re­ cent one as Herm otim os. 31B fr. V III. Empedocles still clings to his idea o f the historicity of the gods: that is. did not seem to have been as deeply con­ cerned w ith sin as Empedocles is in his second w ork. and Pythagoras is said to have described them in detail before he had seen the remains of the shield. an ally of the Trojans in the T ro jan war. 8 ) It is to be noted that all the incarnations allegedly m entioned by Pythagoras w ere of men. 4) basing himself on Heraklides (V H ) men­ tions one incarnation of Pythagoras as Aethalides. Aethalides is also m entioned b y Pherekydes. tells us near the beginning of the Purifications·.Conversion 119 tioned is Euphorbos. though imposing severe penalties on transgressions of the rules of the school. the ivory ornaments survived. concerning the “com m on N ous.

(or the god of w ar-tum ult) or K ronos or Poseid . to Leonardo d Vinci. 182-3) This referene was not how ever based on an analysis of the relevant fragmen" and Bignone (placing Empedocles at the beginning of a Gree medieval period) also compares him to Dante. n o t only among Buddhists bu t am ong those faithful to the: older H indu religion. These analogies may be vague. Empedocles’ abhorrence of animal sacrifices.C. no qualifications. 3lB fr. that of Buddhism. Bignone says that Empedocles united i himself the soul of a G reek w ith that of an Indian. fo r the rise of Buddhism is put at around 500 B. Traffic was frequent.. unknow n in its present meaning to the Greekw orld and to the Pythagoreans. no troubl . was also very strong in the Indian religious as well as in the m ystic cults. T he sense of sin. Such varied comparisons annul each other. W ith great diffidence I venture to suggest that the concepti of the spiritualisation of the Sphairos. whic stretched from the w estern most parts of India to the shores of Asia Minor. . but only K ypris was queen. the choice spirits. 28) w hich seems t show th at Empedocles tried very hard to keep the tw o parts of ' th eo ry together. N o r was it impossible fo r this new religious movem ent to percolate th ro u g h the Persian Empire. T h e dates do no t clash w ith this suggestion. Schopenhauer.” (D K . (BE. to form one consistent whole. and to various Christian mystics as well as to the Germ rom antic philosophers. (BE. I F or the Empedocles of O n N ature. w ho sprout up again as “god’s immori tal” to a Buddha. T h e Sphairos w ould correspond? to the Nirvana. 2 1 ) H even refers to the Buddhist Nirvana. but they are numerous enough to give a shadow of vcri: similitude to an hypothesis w hich I am aware cannot be substantii ated from other sources. and a host o others. the retu rn to human or low er form s of life to Karma. < j Zeus the king. Novalis. w ho has now become “all sacred m ind.120 Conversion “T h ere was n o t among them (the people of th at tim e) Ares. es­ pecially bulls and cows. also corresponds to beliefs w hich are still* alive. the highest attainm ent of man is to become m erged in the Sphairos and to exist in it as an iii tegral part w ith no personal m em ory. half a century before EnP pedocles’ m aturity. .” m ay be due to a m ore rem ote influence.

bicker about their proteges. b u t as a deification. 146) and.” Moreover. would be as tedious as in other paradises. the gods are repeatedly called “long-lived” and “honored above all” but nowhere immortal. and intrigue against each other. A fter the “souls” have gone through all transm igrations— “bush and bird and m ute fish”— and after th ey have expiated their sins b y being throw n from one ele­ ment to another (each of them spewing the souls out w ith loath­ ing) those few destined to rise to the highest degree of perfection become “seers. The transmigration of the human soul through all sorts of creatures throughout interminable aeons. the Sphairos becomes transcendent. are a sublimation of ordinary human be­ ings. toil. Empedocles does not envisage the final salvation as an absorption into the uni­ versal spirit. so now. in the Purifications. set apart. 147) N ote that the arts practiced by those perfected human beings are all Empedocles’ arts. composers of hymns.Conversion 121 0r anxieties. as one of them. envy one another. as the Nirvana exists side by side with the world of necessity. W e have observed that. H ow ever. and repeated incarnations. rather than to make the Buddha (or Empedocles or whoever has attained human per­ fection) join them at their “hearth and board. 3IB fr. not subject to decay. (DK. implies that beyond the dissolution of the body. T hey quaff nectar. whom Empedo­ cles now hopes to join.” (DK. the Olympian gods. As in Buddhism. made up of combinations of the four ele­ . Eternity among them. the traditional gods are revered. In the Purifications the word longlived occurs only once. from w hich they sprout again as gods im m ortal hon­ ored above all. surveying by its swift thought all and everything. laugh at licentious jokes. but jt would be more in the spirit of Empedocles’ first work for them come down and assist in the Gautama’s death. 3 IB fr. But. obviously in the same context: Sharing the hearth and board of the other immortals untouched by human ills. the analogies w ith Buddhism stop here. physicians and leaders of men on this earth. in his first work.

whose expiation takes th irty thousand reasons? |'l. G one is the form er cheerful acceptance of the ephemeral character of all living creatures w hich before their elements have coalesced and after they have dispersed “were. or survives through piany. 3lB fr. w hich deserves being quoted in full. and the earth tosses him towards the sun’s shining splendor. (DK. 22B fr. One of these am I now. bound by the most solemn oaths. the gods. 5) There is a law of necessity. Thus one receives him from the other and they all loathe him.c tw o m entioned in this fragm ent are bloody sacrifice.. an old decree of the gods. is not clear from the existing fragmen rs of the Purifications·. consciously or unconsciously. and are nothing at all. having yielded to the enticements of raging Strife. The sea spews him out towards the threshold of the earth. w hich is hi. away from the blessed ones.122 Conversion ments. whose lot is a long life. Heraclitus had already derisively com pared this rite to w anting to cleanse oneself from mud by plunging into mud. taking on all kinds of shapes of mortal life tormented by heavy toil. 115) ’ I shall not enter into the controversy over three term s in this fragm ent: (a) In line 5 I have translated the w ord of ten renr dered by “demons” as the “gods” w ho have their usual qualifica­ tion “whose lot is a long life” (dem on and god w ere in ancien G reek almost synonym ous). W h a t are the capital sins. ened to manslaughter— since the bull and cow m ay be reincarna­ tions of human beings— and the apparently usual rite of smearing one’s body w ith their blood. (D K . For the force of air chases him towards the high seas. though reading through them. something. eternal. W h eth er this “ever” extends only through one cosmic cycle.” This change is most apparent in a remark­ able fragm ent. (b) the “blessed ones” in the nex . one is inclined to side w ith the latter view. sentence him to wander in exile. and to struggle for three times ten thousand seasons. a fugitive from the gods and a vagrant. Whoever fouls his limbs by unwitting involvement in murder or swears an oath and then perjures himself. survives for e \. H e in turn hurls him into the whirling of the air.

I consider there is very little difference betw een the three. or b y a life’s length. T his ab­ sence of the holier-than-thou attitude is the saving grace of a true believer.‘demons” and the accusative of “him. he experiences in himself the horrors of his alleged crime. w hich makes the length of the penalty four times shorter. and w riting “H oren. 3lB fr.” Leonard equates them w ith years b u t the w ord can also be equally well rendered b y seasons of the year.” w hich means divine beings of a higher grade are banishing a man’s soul from a low er realm. H e m ust pass through endless transm igrations through all the forms of animate life. as in Plato. even if he has com m itted them un­ wittingly and even if he is already high up in the scale of moral qualities. I m ust add that the w ord “sentence” in line 5 does not occur in the text. rising to . driving a tw o-horse w inged chariot. Despite all these difficulties. w hich has m any cycles. A nd the c ry of despair that escapes him in the follow ing fragm ent corroborates his sincerity: Would that a pitiless day had destroyed me ere I had thought of polluting my limbs with what my lips have tasted! (DK. The “blessed ones” are translated elsewhere as “fair spirits. T he soul is com pared to a charioteer. though th ey are not consistent w ith each other.r 123 -Conversion line. (c) the “gods” from w hom the poet considers himself a fugi­ tive and a vagrant. w hatever his faith. for the enemies of true philosophy. Empedocles counts himself as one of the sinners. H e courses through the Em pyrean w orld. 139) There are m any references to a previous life and to an after life in Plato. Diels-Kranz evades the difficulty by simply transliterating the G reek w ord. unw anted b y any. This horrifying picture of a “lost soul” is not reserved. the meaning of the fragm ent is clear: getting involved in m urder (w hich includes slaughtering animals for sacrifice) and perjury are tw o of the m ost heinous crimes possible. T h e culprit. roam ­ ing the elements. a m atter m ore of poetic expression than of theology. T h e most beautiful is the picture in Phaedrus.” which is meaningless.” C ontro­ versy has also arisen over “the seasons. is cruelly punished and degraded. but is to be inferred from the nomina­ tive of the w ord ‘.

plaguing the sinful souls. and. unworthy of the lofty character customarily attributed to him. political. having been slain in battle. linv guistic. and culminating in the Idea of the Good. afl death. W hen the time comes for the soul to lose its wings and to return to earth. who may hope one day to return to the state from which they have come down. the other is a horse of base desires that tends all the time to descend towards the earth. and were in their own way real philosophers. on being brought out at last and prepared for burial. taking. For he had really died. he will continue to converse on justice and virtue and cour age with the sages of old. or descending to the dark Tartarus. seldom finds a free moment to gaze at the supernatural beauty and har­ mony of the world of Ideas. revived and recounted his adventures among the dead. The charioter.the heavenly visions of the forms of Ideas. are given in horrifying detail. and other phenomena of human life as they presented"1 ' themselves to them. if this is not granted it. But the charioteer only occasionally catches a glimpse of these. for the Sophists did no harm to anyone. replunging into that horrible place. or Socrates’ enemies. the occasional glimpses are in some cases enough. having to keep them on an even course round the Empyrean circles. These and other ills. and. there is the vision of Er. those who have kept this memory alive become wise and virtuous men. and had been sent back to earth to enlighten human beings on what was in store for them: torments. only to emerge after ten thousand years to entreat his victim for pardon. Still. in the dialogue of that name. re­ mained for ten days under a heap of corpses. the Armenian. for although one of his tw o horses is ajioble steed full of spirited valor. who. Other pictures in Plato’s work show a malevolence and a thirst for revenge against his. there is the naive conviction of Socrates that. reality as they perceived it and analyzing the social. such as being skinned alive for ever and ever. T o us this is shocking. Finally. the judges of the Netherworld— Min . testi­ fying to Plato’s abundant imagination but not to his humanity: There are nine circles in hell and the lowest but one is allotted to the Sophists. and above all. There are the tor­ ments of hell with which he threatens Kallikles the disciple of Gorgias.

He. (D K . w ith E dw ard Zeller— the champion of absolute G reek originality— devoting hundreds of pages in his monum ental w ork. who has changed his form. having killed him prepares in his princely halls a horrible meal. and Aiakos. and the bystanders offer prayers while he sacrifices. 3lB fr. insisting the Greeks needed no help from other peoples to develop their philosophy. G. to the refutation of Gladisch and other believers in oriental sources. W e shall refer to tw o of them here: W ill you not stop this noisome awful slaughter? D o you not see how you tear each other to pieces in the blindness o f your mind? (D K . Later. and having torn the life out of them. give the slightest hint that he admits to any sin of com ­ mission or omission. The Philosophy o f the Greeks. C ontroversy over this point raged during the latter half of the 19th century and into the present one. mindless of the entreaties of the poor victim. 137) Do these resemblances to far-aw ay cults im ply that w e adhere to the school of thought w hich tends to reduce every single in­ tellectual achievement of the Greeks to the influence of some Oriental tradition or religion? By no means. concedes not one original . Critias.Conversion 125 Rhadamanthys. a son catches and kills his mother. and others. children their father. N ow here even does he condem n the terrible crimes com m itted against his country b y his boon companions. lifting his knife slits the throat of his own dear son. In the same way. Charmides. father. or son of the man who slits their throat. and he warns repeatedly against bloody sacrifices. m aintaining that the bull or cow about to be slaughtered may easily be the m other. 3lB fr. the utter fool. Thomson. Socrates. in T h e Early Philosophers. But now here does Plato’s m outhpiece. they consume their kindred flesh. Alcibiades. 136) And: The father. Several relevant fragm ents are passionate appeals. It is quite otherwise w ith Empedocles. H e counts himself amongst the greatest sinners.

their palaces. which extended from Cyprus to Sicily and from the Aegean peoples to the Etruscans. In the monuments of Crete w e have an . But the genius ■ of a people can be gauged by the unconscious selection of what they absorb and what they reject. rendered necessary by the discovery of the monui ments of Minoan and Mycenean civilisations. The reply to both schools is fundamentally simple. though in a debased form. in my opinion. where pieces of similar ornament worked by a native are clearly dis­ tinguishable from those of Greek craftsmanship. The influence of the Cretan and in general the Mediter­ ranean civilizations. thought to the Greeks. was. Of coursé the Greeks received influences from the surrounding peoples and their culture. The Greeks conquered the lands where those cultures had flourished. quent editions.126 Conver. from which all science and all scholarly disciplines of the modern world have “sprouted”— to use Empedocles’ expression. In philosophy the answer is still simpler: the Greeks were the only people this side of China to develop philosophy as a distinct intellectual discipline. and their supreme works of art. It is probable that the Orphic and similar oriental cults had ak ready been expurgated from their orgiastic and strictly ritual ele­ ments by the Pythagoreans before Empedocles came in contact with them. has been obliged to mitigate Zeller’s absolutism bÿ copious notes. j W e have already noted how the pre-Greek religion and customs of the Minoan civilization had left a deep imprint on his mind. editor of Zeller’s sub. for there is no trace in his work of any such rites as as means of communicating with the divine. and Dr. re­ inforced by traditions that were still alive among the Sikels. If they had not. examined their shrines. copied their script. and which adds a new dimension > to the human mind and creativeness. Specifically Greek elements can immediately be recognized on an Indian vase for instance or in the incomparable “treasury of the Scythians” in the Leningrad Museum. they would have been obscurantist " savages. intermarried with their in­ habitants. heard them speak. perhaps the most decisive of all. Nestle. Plenty can be said on this ί concerning art. by the way they gradually transform alien elements and make them their own in a form : which is unmistakably original.

whose description of Scheria corresponds v ery closely w ith the idyllic descriptions of Empedocles’ rule of Am ity. where Murder and W rath and a host of other small Destinies and shrivelling Diseases. W e have also noted that there is a sense of tw o utterly different cultures in H om er’s Odyssey. w ith good reason I believe. all these wander about in the dark in the fields of Avenging Power. w ith bu t a few exceptions like the above fragment and the opening and closing passages. Hence. 1 2 1 ) T here is also the mysterious fragm ent: “W e came into this roofed-over cave. O n entering it “I w ept and wailed seeing this unfamiliar place. 77/78) T his last fragm ent is transferred b y W ilam ow itz (WS. T h a t Empedocles con­ siders life on earth a fall (especially fo r himself) is witnessed by another fragm ent: .” (D K . the Greeks. and all works of man run away like water. 3 IB fr. in w hich only the shadows throw n b y the outside light of the true w orld of Ideas is dim ly perceived. T he tin y altars of the cult of the M other Goddess shows con­ clusively th at no sacrifices of animals could have been perform ed. 3IB fr. 128) “T he trees kept their foliage and bore fru it all the year round. In th e Purifications. 627) from O n N ature to the Purifications. 3lB fr. 118) M en suffer from shrivelling diseases and all forms of decay a place without any charm. T h e earth is a joyless place. 3IB fr. 1 2 0 ) H ere there is an obvious connection w ith Plato’s comparison of earthly life to existence in a cave. (DK.Conversion 127 extreme refinem ent coupled w ith a total absence of that glorifica­ tion of w ar w hich was introduced into the Aegean w orld w ith the invasion of the N ortherners. w e have earlier suggested that the perigee of the cosmic cycle was identified b y Empedocles w ith this already rem ote per­ iod in M editerranean history w hen everything was tame and friendly to man and Kypris was conciliated w ith incense and myrrh “and painted images of beasts. life on earth is painted in the darkest colors.” (D K 3lB fr. (DK. w here Murder and W ra th and a host of smaller m alevolent spirits hold away.” (DK. and Rottenness.

oh you pitiful race of mortals. 3IB fr. as if I had achieved any great thing. Immediately after. crowned w ith fillets of gold . . 3lB fr. of all joy bereft from what contentious strife were you born. and that he accepts it will­ ingly.ils. 119 j ' H ere there sounds again the haughty disdain fo r common mor­ tality w hich was so patent throughout the w ork On Nature. in being superior to mortal men. this. a taste of ashes . thousands follow me as I go through the far-shining cities. bu t as a god im mortal . beset by all kinds of corruption? (DK. w hen they are recognized and hailed as half-gods b y the crowds. T aking the fragm ents in the order in w hich they are placed in T h e Diels-Kranz’s edition. 3lB fr. . . (DK. b y w hat they happen to come across. b u t p ity and compassion have taken the place of simple contempt Oh woe. 124) Such feelings are pushed under the threshold of consciousness m the first w o rk b y Empedocles’ elation at his ow n superiority. w ith a fragm ent already quoted: “I wander among you no m ore a mortal. yet they boast of having know n the whole etc. In the earlier w ork he did not consider he had come dow n from any other state. including the prospect of his ow n disappearance when the elements composing his body will have separated and dispersed. A t the m om ent of their trium ph. Jn the Purifications his opinion has not changed about the mort. they show a re­ markable consciousness of phenom enon that only great men can experience.” asking either for a prophecy or a w ord of ad­ vice to relieve their long-standing sufferings.128 . M ost men are witless and their conceptions are form ed b y chance and circumstance. . that he alone knows the law of the universe. Conversi0n 1 From what great honor and what length of bliss have I fallen to earth and converse with mortals. w e notice that the Purifications begin on a note of trium ph. 113) · ' If these fragm ents actually followed each other. from what depths of grief! (DK. Yet there is a difference. T here is no hint of anoi her sort of existence. there is a reversal of feeling: But why do I insist on those things.

3 IB fr. b itter at the lack of recognition. on a note of trium ph. om itting a few small disconnected fragments.Conversion 129 glls their mouth. These few. all loathing him and spewing him out one to the other. to the place of lament. “one of them am I now. . there is no retu rn to the dark cave. 115).” the passionate warnings against animal sacrifice. . “W h y do I insist on these things. as if I had achieved any great thing in being superior to mortal men. once achieved. . 117) T here recurs a lament over his fall. T here follows the statem ent that the “onrush of know ledge” is painful and causes envy on the part of small men and then the great fragm ent of the lost soul of the sinner. rare men: . then the piece about the “cave” the joyless place w ith all the m alevolent spirits plaguing mankind in the dark fields of avenging power. mean v ery little if anything. after going through all forms of living beings. reach at last a pinnacle in human life. which pictures the v ery depth of self-abasement. 3IB fr.” T here is a play of w ords betw een “insist” and “being superior” : the same verb is used w ith a different prefix. w ho has struggled throughout his life to express the inexpressible? These honors for which he had striven so long. It is untranslatable. the Purifications end as they began. you will never think be free from grievous pains. 3IB fr. T he superior spirits. after expiating their sins b y m uch suffering and becom ing con­ scious of the justice of their punishment. W h a t is this trium ph w orth? W h a t meaning has it for a great w riter or for a philosopher. some of doubtful authentic­ ity. b u t in G reek it stresses the sim ilarity and the con­ trast of the tw o feelings. a fugitive from the gods and a vagrant” (D K . T here follow the cry of pity fo r mankind. to the torm ents of w andering through all the elements.” (D K . T hen the almost cheerful rhythm ic account of all the possible transmigrations: For I have already at times been a boy and a girl and a bush and a bird and a mute fish in the salty waves (DK. 145) Finally. . From that pinnacle. and the pessimistic outlook for all men: “suffering from heavy misfortunes. the idyllic description of the time when Zeus and Ares and Kronos “w ere not yet.

that. not subject to decay. a genius— Empedocles feels all this is not enough. (DK. even the Babylonian year of 262. 3IB fr. they do not see their skin wrinkle. as a Greek. A new longing like a torm enting thirst has en­ tered his breast: he wants im mortality.130 Conversion In the end they become seers and composers of hymns and physicians. as Spinoza believed. (DK. a great poet. w hen the elements composing the body will have dispersed. and after he saw himself honored— acclaimed as a public benefactor. and leaders of men on earth. H e w ould not be satisfied to become m erged in the “divine inexistence. Empedocles has pushed back from his conscious m ind that change is a universal law. their joints stiffen.800 years m ultiplied b y 60 is bu t a moment.” as a m odern G reek poet puts it. 147) A fter all his strivings. knows is that of the O lym pian gods. or Orphism. set apart. of the Nir­ vana. as he m ight have done in his earlier w ork. after proclaim ing the eternal laws of the elements and the forces and the cosmic cycle. bu t the Pythagoreanism (or Buddhism. as a thought in G od. From these (states) they sprout up again as gods immortal. T h ey are always young. their teeth and hair fall out. He thirsted fo r personal survival. 146) And: Sharing the hearth and board of the other immortals. in the view of eternity. Empedocles w anted this im m ortality to be personal. A nd how m any others have not felt it b itter to vanish w ith all that one still could give and all that one has encompassed in one’s thoughts. 31B fr. untouched by human ills. honored above all. H e w ould not be satisified to live on. or in the whole of creation. is now immaterial to him. This w ould seem another proof th at the Purifications is a w ork of Em pedocles’ late maturity . in nature. H e does n o t consider. W hether they last forever or only one cosmic cycle. H e does not ab­ jure his form er beliefs. T h e y are not subject to decay. after accepting the dissolution of person­ ality. and even that not in its totality. or w hatever it was) to w hich he had become converted promised im m ortality. A nd the only immortality he.

w hich m ay or may not be connected w ith Indian influences. thrice miserable people. In the Purifications. In O n N atu re men are not sinful. keep your hands . Differences b etw een o n n a t u r e and the p u r ific a t io n s T here are five main differences between Empedocles’ tw o great works: In the Purifications. am ounting to a conversion. Some­ thing over and above th at com bination— an essence w hich w e could call the soul. as in O n N ature. T hough philosophically somewhat of a step backward. though Empedocles does not use the w ord— survives all forms. a transitory com bination of the four elements. they have not to give an account of themselves to any higher power. But this did not apply to men. T h e second difference is the introduction of sin. a commiseration for men has entered Em ­ pedocles’ heart. ex­ presses a v ery genuine human experience and is portrayed in in­ comparable poetry. H e warns and admonishes them against the great sin of offering bloody sacrifices (“W ill ye not stop this awful slaughter?” ) and. the elements heavier than fire pay penalties to each other for their tresspasses against the law dictated by the universal Nous. sometimes w ith a dim consciousness of its identity. hence the suggestion b y Diels-Kranz that the Purifications was an early w ork must certainly be rejected. he cries out: “Miserable. T h e w ord now meaning “sin” in m odern G reek form erly meant failure. or the disregard of an oracle. This is a funda­ mental difference from the conception expressed w ith such per­ sistence in the w o rk O n N ature.C onversion 131 (young people do not dread extinction except for fleeting mom­ ents). or a fatal mistake. the deep change in Em pedocles’ attitude. the individual soul and personality persists through diverse forms of living beings. In Heraclitus. W hen they dis­ perse like smoke they are not held responsible fo r their acts. as when the bull entreats its relative not to slay it. and a m ute fish.” ) M en are no longer. dissolving at w hat witless people call death and not exist­ ing before th at com bination emerged into the light of day. supporting other taboos of the Pythagoreans. (“I have been a boy and a girl and a bush and a bird.

I think. and self-confidence and the opposite extremes of self-abasement and despair. w ho are subject to all sorts of decay!” (DK. hope. Most have already been quoted and w e have seen that the earth is likened to a dark cavern.” needing a pro­ phecy or a w ord of advice about their manifold ills (DK. (DK. 112)— and the immediately following fragm ent (though w e must rem em ber th at these are fragments. 140) These warnings·. 3 IB fr. and is a joyless place. and it is then th at p ity and fellow-feeling fo r the unhappy lot of men on earth enters his heart.” T h e poet feels himself lowest among the low. 141) and “From the leaves of the' laurel keep altogether away.” (DK. 3IB fr. passionate and persistent. 113) T hen comes the long fragm ent w ith the horrifying picture of the lost soul “being tossed b y one element to another. T h ey are no t inconsistent.132 Conversion?} aw ay from beans” (D K . 3 IB fr. 124) could not possibly have found expression in O n N ature. be free from grievous pains.” and thousands follow him w henever he appears in the “far-shining cities. with Em pedocles’ earlier view that all living creatures have much in common. and a du ty to w arn against sin. and have a share in thought. though he is not very hopeful that these warnings w ill have effect: Hence. W e have noted the contrast betw een the opening fragm ent of the Purifications w hich sounds a note of complete trium ph— the philosopher wanders among his fellow-citizens “no m ore a mortal. but like a god im m ortal. you will never. O h you pitiful race of mortals (DK. and the cry “Oh. th at they all rejoice and grieve. suffering from heavy misfortunes. a fugitive from the gods and a vagrant. and we do n o t know how m any verses separated one from the other) in w hich he chides himself: “as if I had achieved any great thing being superior to the mortals. 3IB fr. though. woe. 145) A nother trait of the Purifications is the pendulum-like swaying of the philosopher’s m ood betw een the extremes of elation. 3 IB fr. that they all breathe in and out. It is needless to continue this enum eration of the contrasting fragments. Man cries and wails w hen first entering it and innumerable malevolent . H e feels pity. T h e transition is one of feeling rather than of belief. 3IB fr.” loathed b y all: “One of these am I now.

but he finds it m ore difficult in the Purifications to give a new con­ tent to w ords like “w rath. T hough they are there always follow ed b y the qualifica­ tion “the long-living gods. b u t one of the tw o cosmic forces— A m ity or Love) and the Olympians. G one too is the amost joyful acceptance of the transi­ toriness of hum an personality. A fo u rth m ajor difference betw een the tw o w orks is Em pedo­ cles’ totally changed attitude tow ards the gods. 133) A nd the rem ark­ able fragm ent referring to Pythagoras testifies that he has re­ tained the old vigor of his m ind and his faith in intellectual power.” (DK. w hom he treated rather cavalierly in the earlier work.” (D K . and through him to the rest of hum anity.ConverHon 133 banes follow him th rough his life. and ignorance. H e totters along amid toil. (D K . Empedocles has always been deeply conscious of the difficulty of com m unicating his original and not easily acceptable conception of the w orld to his disciple Pausanias. just as m uch as the other living beings.” “m urder. 3B fr. 18B fr. “w hich is no t to be seen w ith our eyes. In the Purifications th ey are no t long-lived bu t im m ortal (only in one fragm ent is the expression “whose lot is a long life” used— DK.” he believes them to be tem poral phenomena. H e no longer makes a sharp distinction betw een K ypris (w ho is not really a goddess. H e is n o t misled b y the easiness of inventing all those small sprites of annoyance that plague the mortals.” “this aw ful noisome slaughter. bu t soon returns to his usual diffidence about the truth. honored above all. like the juice of a freshly-cut fruit. H e is obliged to use the common language. H e manages it w ith great success in On Nature. 129) T h e expression of elation and self-confidence in the opening and closing fragm ents of the Purifications m ay well have been the reason w h y the deep-going differences betw een it and On N ature have been to a great extent disregarded. nor touched b y our hands. H e lets himself go in those tw o fragments. Gone is the calm and deep-rooted con­ viction of O n N ature th at Empedocles alone knew the secrets of the universe. 3 IB . b u t he has to tw ist it round and to squeeze out of the used w ords a meaning new and fresh. 115) and Empedocles now wants to become as im­ mortal as th ey and to “share their hearth and board. sickness.” etc. 3IB fr.

he whose opinion about the gods is dim and erroneous is an unhappy man: Blessed is he who has in his possession a wealth of divine thoughts. 31B fr. F rom the point of view of philosophy and theory of knowl­ edge. on the other hand. but to help him utter the deeper truth w ithout fear of favor. A dm ittedly very few men achieve this. W isdom now consists in know ing the truth about the gods. Empedocles feels he is w o rth y of a blissful and eternal existence. (DK. w ith the difference that they no longer concern life on this earth and the honors paid to wise men or benefactors. 147) These gods have sworn an “all-pervading wide onl y about sin and atonem ent and it is from them that he is now an exile and a vagrant. the w o rk of Empedocles’ com paratively old age— for he cannot have been m ore than sixty w hen he w ent to Olym pia to hear his poem recited— is a com e-down from his earlier work . 131) But this is not all. b u t its content is very different: If thou. 31B fr. W e have already quoted from Empedocles m any invocations to his Muse not to let him be led astray by the honors conferred by men. ever wast inclined to spend thy care in favor of one of the mortal men. when I intend to reveal virtuous words about the blessed gods. but he counts himself among these w ho will be defied and “sprout up again” as gods. thy worshipper. be now with me. immortal Muse. but life after death.134 Conversion fr. T here is a similar invocation in the Purifi■ < cations. Presumably. to beat his breast about his sins. T h e last tw o fragm ents of the Purifications retu rn to the optimism of its opening. and unhappy the man whose opinion about the gods is darkened. (DK. 132) It was not natural for Empedocles to remain long plunged in dismal thoughts and moods. This brings happiness and blessings while. to bewail his exile from the gods. after the long tribulations already described and his genuine contrition.

T o be “untouched b y decay” is an age-old dream of hum anity. F or a man who has seen through the secrets of the universe. though he had no t personally experi­ enced them. in the long run. had “guessed in his m ind” the tw o supreme moments of the cosmic cycle— the ineffable peace of the Sphairos and the reign of A m ity from whose loving palms m yriads of living forms have poured out. Empedocles’ conversion m ay have assuaged his an­ guish about his ow n future destiny. But to w hat purpose? A n eternal life w ithout any aim or activity. etc. who. w ould be. who share all the human weaknesses of envy. cannot be called an ascent. as Empedocles claimed to have done. disinterested eye of the true philosopher. One cannot even write verses in Paradise. all tame and friendly to each other. intrigues..Conversion 135 On Nature. bu t it deprived him of the clear. for a man of Empedocles’ tem­ perament. intolerable. . carnal loves. “a w onder to behold”— from these concepts to that of the im m obility and immutability of the “hearth and board” of the Olympians.

beginning with Aristotle. fire that warms us. T h e T h ree Levels. and Pindar in lyric poetry. Aeschylus in dramatic poetry. This level. over the question whether Empedocles was a real poet. Trying to reconcile these contradictions. he says that “there is nothing in common between Empedocles and Homer except the meter. but Dionysius himself is reported to have said that among those who pursued the austere and difficult harmony (probably thinking of Heraclitus’ saying “the hidden harmony is better than the apparent one”) Empedocles excelled in epic poetry. earth. except the comparatively obscure Dionysius the Thracian. Practically all other commentators agree on this point. His commentator (name unknown) repeats the usual adverse criticism of Empedo­ cles’ poetry.” which is only one of the four characteristics of poetry. the level of common sense. in a passage in his Poetica. though of less philosophical im­ portance. water that we drink. POETRY W e have already mentioned the controversy that raged among the later philosophers.9. whereas. Hence Empedocles cannot be considered a true poet. the ground upon which w e tread. air that w e breathe. This is high praise indeed. Aristotle contradicts himself in a passage from his lost work D e Foetis: he calls Empedocles Homeric “because he uses metaphor and all the other devices of the poetic trade”. inspires him at moments to wonder and admiration over 136 . we have concluded that Empedocles uses the words for his elements in three senses: First.

This lack of consistency is not rem arked upon b y anyone. and almost all con­ centrated their attention on the third level. original poetry. and hence to expres­ sions like “the immeasurable heights of air. Later in the same fragm ent. This level represents Em pedocles’ real belief and doctrine. It reaches at times an insufferably high pitch in the Purifications. gods. pithy.” the “life-carrying earth. T h e second level is th at of the elements proper.” (DK.fo e tr y 137 the variety of the forms of living creatures. the w ork w hich caused such a great stir and bew ilderm ent when . Leonard). well-reined chariot. and let through consecrated lips a clear spring flow. 3 IB fr. whose tears bedew hum anity” (D K 3IB fr. 19) O n this level we also find some fixed metaphors. like the invocation to the gods: “Ye. send me in P iety’s well-reined chariot what is m eet for ephemeral men to hear. tu rn madness away from m y tongue. 40) This kind of poetry (though Empedocles has occasional flashes of originality) had been w orked to death in the H om eric cycle. and beautiful expres­ sions. 3 IB fr. and here he is often impressive and rhetorical but seldom truly poetical as w hen he says “Zeus. 3 IB fr. nor let thyself be com ­ pelled b y the w reaths of praise of m ortal men to say m ore than is pious” (D K . is certainly not real. 6) (this last expression I owe to W . (Sextus Em piricus takes it as a chiding to those w ho promise m ore knowledge than is carried by each sense-organ! ) On this level we have also the single verse “sharp-arrowed sun and mild-shining m oon. and I beseech thee.E. or “firm-clasping A m ity. and the like. the w hite splendor. traditional arsenal of poetic expressions. It is on this level that he is inspired to his most original. 3) This kind of rhetorical poetry.” and others that cannot be called unpoetical. But none of the com m entators looked fo r poetry in Em pe­ docles’ explanations of the physical world. using all the trite.” or “Nestis. white-armed virgin Muse. O n the third level Empedocles uses m uch m ythological and traditional im aginary and personification. or his disciple.” (DK. it is obvious that Empedocles is w arning himself. the primeval stuff out of whose com bination and separation in various propor­ tions the whole of the visible w orld is constituted. not the muse. white-arm ed virgin.

But the real poetry of Empedocles lies in the frag­ ments expounding his doctrine: his conception of the elements as the real basis of existence. 3lB fr.” and “spewed” from one element to the other— is not paralleled in any other of the great poets of his period. T w o cries w rung from him are great poetry: W ould that a pitiless day had destroyed me ere I had thought of polluting m y limbs w ith what m y lips have tasted! (D K . in the sea. in the variety of animals and plants. Coherence and audacity. and that on certain occasions he showed deep insight. you pitiful race of mortals. that he could produce impressive combinations of them. the laws of their changes. .” “hurled. the description of how m ortal beings come into being and then vanish like smoke. and he devotes endless care and ability to the expression of every detail.” These are his ow n visions and convictions. w here A m ity “leads the voice­ less throng of profusely-spawning fish. w here lions lay themselves on the ground and sleep. his delight in forms and colors. 139) Oh w oe. are combined. from what depths o f grief! (D K . pithi­ ness and clarity. and Empedocles’ description of the tribulations of the sinful soul althrough aeons of trans­ migrations—“tossed.138 Poetry perform ed by the professional rhapsode Cleomenes at Olympia Y et certain parts of it are really gripping because of the depth and sincerity of the feeling behind them. the nothingness of human and animal life as com pared w ith the awful majesty of the Sphairos. A nd again. 124) If judgm ents on Empedocles’ poetry w ere to be based on the verbal fireworks w e have m entioned— and the fact that they have been preserved shows that they impressed ancient posterity— we could only have said that Empedocles knew how to use all the traditional form s of poetry. in the splendor of the sun and m oon and mountains. 3lB fr. tinged w ith a deep consciousness of ephemeral being. Shining intuitions light the abstract thoughts and flash in unforgettable utterances— cries to rn out of his mental toil and concentration. of all joy bereft! From what contentious Strife were you born.

but in so far as they never stop changing throughout in so far they are forever immovable in a circle. (DK. saying tw o or three times: “I shall now retrace m y steps and let my words follow each other”. W e long for the Sphairos to end the tribulations of this life. and then again w e marvel w ith the poet at the myriads of living forms. 17) The same thought in a slightly different form: T h ey (the elements) are forever themselves. 35) Wandering far from their own kind. 17) Empedocles admits the repetitiveness which Aristotle finds so objectionable. the elements mix with each other: and when having come together in the proper mixture. but. they rise to the light in the shape of a man. or of beasts living in the wild.Î o e tr y 139 W e may reserve judgment on the details of his theory. yet are forever and ever the same. things he has discovered come out more clearly. they become at times different. 3IB fr. but with a difference: . 3IB fr. it carries conviction and compels our admiration. (DK. then people call it birth. each time slightly different and enhanced: And of a sudden they become mortal. 9) And the same contradiction lies at the base of all creation: Thus they come into being and their life is not long their own. W e almost submit to the ineluctable law of the elements and to the prospect of going up like smoke at our death. 3lB fr. or as bushes or birds. (DK. so different in shape and color. but. those previously wont to be immortal. Empedocles is conscious that his vision is unique. and this is the reason w h y he repeats many passages in a slightly different form. while w e are immersed in it. 3IB fr. The abstract becomes concrete through the high­ est poetry. running through each other. (DK.

23) In the comparison of our eyes to a lantern. playing w ith a w ater-clock of gleaming bronze. Poetry to what I said before. insofar as it is finer and m ore tenuous. that of the lantern. The hand m ight just as well have been horny and rough. 84) In similar detail he compares inhaling and exhaling breath with the w orking of the clepsydra: “as w hen a young girl.” (DK. while the fire penetrates outside. and th at of the clepsydra. and long-lived gods. fr. Empedocles’ poetic inspiration adds a concrete touch. in like fashion was the eternal fire fenced round and hidden in finest veils enclosing the round pupil. there a little less”— and produce shapes similar to all things existing: “trees and buildings and men and women. 3IB. (D K . a light of burning fire. and scatter their breath. the details could be said to be gratuitous. . the night into w hich the man is setting fo rth need not have been wintry. 3 IB. .” T h ey mix their colors in their palms (an echo of A phrodite here) inspired b y H arm ony— “here a little more. In the first of these long fragm ents Empedocles is not content to talk simply about “the painter. wild beasts and birds and w ater-nurtured fish. honored above all. All H om eric descrip­ tions of this kind tally. each point of the concrete image corres­ ponding to another point in the real happening he describes. letting new words flow from those I previously uttered.” (DK. In the three longer descriptive frag­ ments. 3IB fr. .” T h ey are “men well versed in their art. 3lB fr. a sense of immediate reality to w hat he wishes to convey. that of the comparison to the painters. whose sides hinder the rush of all winds. and her delicate finger is plunged in and made w et b y the silvery w ater. fr. A nd they tally — an essential characteristic all good similes or concrete images of abstract things.140 I shall now retrace m y steps and come back to m y song’s beginning. “a man intending to set fo rth in the w in try night prepares himself a lantern. the veils being pierced all over b y passages divinely w rought.” (D K . so long as b y her tender hand the pipe is closed. knowledgeable b y the force of their m ind. 100) In these similes. . 35) T he Larger Fragments.

after the lumpy bisexual creatures. the water gurgling against her finger. the painters kneading their colors in their sensitive hands. (DK.” nor feel. in picturing the primeval monsters which peopled the world before Harmony or Love entered it to create an ordered cosmos out of the havoc wrought by Strife.” The theoretical content of each simile would have been the same. (DK. in which many a head grew without a neck. W e would not see the man lighting his lantern. In these. but it would not imprint itself on our mind. T hey are nevertheless indicative of the utter disorder of living matter. T hey are part of the way in which the philosopher-poet conceived and visualized his subject. bereft of speech and of love’s urge and desire. whose content. and eyes bereft of a forehead. a little less there. had been separated by the fire surging upwards. And it is not only in beautiful imagery that his poetic genius reveals itself: he is equally impressive in the weird and the hor­ rible. The same theory is expounded at length— minus the fire’s action— by Aristophanes in Plato’s Sym posium . the men’s and the pitiful women’s. intent on “a little more here. tottering without direction in the prevailing Chaos. 58) The sexes were separated. rushing to get out but hindered by her “tender hand. conveys the result of deep pon­ dering and a systematic conception of the universe. a genuine poet who thinks in images. Empedocles shows him­ self a poet who cannot help being one. instead of the diffuse and often contra­ dictory imagery of minor poets.Poetry 141 the painters need not have been described as men “knowledgeable by the force of their mind. 3IB fr. as in so many other original expressions. 3IB fr. Love is there explained as the . Empedocles’ single limbs wandering unattached can not be an accurate description of what really occurred in the prehistoric days. and naked arms wandered about without supporting shoulders.” These qualifications are not ornamental touches added a posteriori. with the girl. 57) And [creatures] consisting of one limb still wandered about.

120) w hich is the earthly w orld. 3 IB fr. Empedocles feels this so deeply that the c ry escapes him: “W ould that a pitiless day had destroyed me. and also the poetry of deep-felt conviction. highly skillful manipulation of words. It oscillates sharply betw een selfassertion and hum ility. It is m ore per­ sonal. the conviction and pain out of w hich all true poetry is b o rn is n o t speculative but moral in character. the poetry is a m ixture (as far as can be assessed from the few er fragments w e have than of the earlier w o rk ).). w hich describes the soul’s expiation through aeons of w andering from one element to the other all loathing him (already quoted) reveals vividly a man absolutely convinced of the tru th of w hat he says. 112) seems like a natural sequence to the last of On j .142 P oetry longing of each half to be reunited w ith its other half. ere I had thought of polluting m y limbs w ith w hat m y lips have tasted!” (D K . rhetorical. com m itted the capital sin of taking p art in animal sacrifices. 139) H e w arns people at large: “D on’t you see how you tear each other to pieces?” (D K . One cannot help adm iring Empedocles’ arbitrary definitions of w hat distinguishes man from all other animals: his capacity fo r love’s desires and fulfilm ent and fo r articulate speech. T here is the verbal. Silent and Prattling. H ere we find echoes of Empedocles’ ideas. T h e doctrine of the transm igration of the soul seems to have sunk m ore deeply into Empedocles than into m ost of the Pythagoreans. 3IB fr. 136) The longest fragm ent. In the Purifications. etc. T h e Poetry o f the Purifications.” (DK. using traditional names and adjectives. 3IB. 3 IB. In the Purifications. others are the heapings of names of the various little banes of Moiras (Slothful and Quick. Several examples of the rhetorical kind have already been given. fr. along w ith m ost mortals. Em pedocles’ new ly-acquired faith in the transm igration of the soul and in the expiation of sin makes him abase himself as he becomes aware that before his conversion he has. it introduces us to the extremes of elation and depression of a highly-strung personality. a m otley of the tw o kinds of p o etry w e w ere able to discern in O n Nature. as also of his half-verse. “we came into this roofed-over cave. W e have seen th at the first fragm ent of the Purifications (DK. fr.

113) This is a sign of real greatness. Empedocles knows the labor he has devoted to his w ork. b u t he senses around him astonishment rather than ad­ miration. 114) Intellectual effort brings no rew ard. as if I had achieved any great thing in being superior to mortal men. If I w ere to make so bold as to change the order of the fragm ents— as m any others have done— I w ould place this fragm ent. T h e descrip­ tion of the Sage (Pythagoras) in a later fragm ent leaves us no doubt th at despite everything— the “joyless place. fr.” the dark “roofed-over cave. subject to all kinds of decay? (DK. and the next one. the result of so long a process of thought and research. envy rather than devotion: toilsome and heavy and a cause of envy to men is the onrush of knowledge into their minds (DK. and a psychological phenom enon w hich only prom inent m en can experience: to recognize w ordly success as a brittle thing. A nd suddenly he realizes that all his achievements are vain and his boasting small-minded: W hy do I insist on these things. a capital poetical find.” the m any dooms and banes. it is a fatal advantage. medicines to stay old age. H e feels that faith in his ow n insight. T he “toilsome onrush of know l­ edge into the m ind” is. fr. (D K . 3IB. 3lB. In the opening fragm ent of the Purifications he arrogates these powers to himself. It is an hour of trium ph such as he must have dream t of fo r years: a panhellenic recognition of his supremacy. 3lB. is like being possessed b y a pow er above the capacities of the com m on run of men: but a possession th at he w ould not forsake fo r anything. unw orthy of the toil and ambition bestowed on it. I think. and the long . I l l ) in w hich he promised his disciple power over nature. describing his progress through far-shining cities w ith throngs follow ing him everywhere.r P oetry 143 N ature. and pow er to raise people from the dead. perhaps to become aware that one is acclaimed for the w rong reason (fo r the not quite poetical verses Em pe­ docles had let them hear at Olympia? ). nearer the end of the w ork. requesting a prophecy or advice on their ailments. fr.

absorbing him like every­ thing else. The two lines: for I have at times already been a boy and a girl and a bush and a bird and a mute fish in the salty waves ( DK . Perhaps I have turned the fragments too much around. N ow . ( DK . 3lB. in the earlier work. He has gone through all possible forms of living beings. when he tensed his whole intellectual power. During all that time many of the Olympians are untouched by decay and. the impersonal and ineffable mind of the Sphairos will take care of him. except for a few isolated words cited by later commentators. The cosmic cycle is very long. 129) That he also had reached that summit seemed to him certain and a source of inner contentment. T hey are contradictions only on the surface. W hen the time comes. could easily see each one of the totality of things easier than ten men in twenty lives. not subject to decay. even of boasting. fr. . But that also is the effect of great poetry: to show one a superior . The contradictions between the two works may thus be evened out.m 144 P oetry process of expiation of sin through thousands of years— it is worth­ while achieving this rare quality: There was a man among them . he has paid dearly for his sin and has reached the summit from which men “sprout up again” as gods immortal. The poetic genius of Empedocles has shown us the way in which he thought and felt. who. perhaps I have seen more biographical and psychological details in the verses o f the Purifications than the work really includes. . it flashes by at times.” The Purifications end on that note. What he now wants is immortality. “sharing the hearth and board of the other immortals. for the moment. fr. Empedocles seems to have forgotten the Sphairos: he is too concentrated on his own destiny. 3 IB. but it is not enough. It is not impossible to recon­ cile this conception with the one in O n N ature. 117) sound almost triumphant. untouched by human ills. or during many successive ones. whether during one cosmic cycle.


P o etry



personality going through all phases of research, speculation, and effort to overcome the obvious and common sense view; and later the illumination by a faith he has absorbed so deeply that he can even betray it.
Conclusion. In Empedocles’ poetry, we must reject the sheer rhetorical fireworks of the enumeration of the banes, the exhorta­ tions to his muse and to the gods to let only pure words flow from his consecrated lips, and all other verses of this kind. T hey may have impressed his contemporaries and the later commentators, but these are precisely the words that he uttered for “the many.” W hen one reviews all the existing fragments, one finds there are not too many such passages. In the case of most of the fragments of O n N atu re and those from the Purifications which express genuine contrition, genuine pity for miserable mortals, real elation at his own powers, and real abhorrence for what he now considers capital sins, w e can accept Dionysius the Thracian’s evaluation of Empedocles as a poet on a par with Aeschylus and Pindar. For the test of real poetry is that it does not go stale with repetition but opens up new horizons at each new reading.

AA, see De Anima ( Aristotle) Abdera, 21,24 AC, see DeCaelo (Aristotle) Achaean 9 Achilles 101 Adam XV ADP, see DePoetis (Aristode) Adversus Mathematicos (Sextus Em.piricus) 3 ADR, see De Respiratione (Aristotle) ADS, see De Sensu (Aristotle) Aegean 8, 9, 35,61,62,126, 127 Aelian, Aelianos (Claudius) 3, 90 Aeschylus 136,145 Aethalides 119 Aëtius, also see Doxographi Graeci 3, 47, 51, 70, 95, 96, 109, 110, 113 Aetna, Mount vi, 16,17,112 AGC, see De Generatione et Corrup­ tione (Aristode) Agrigentum 7 Aiakos 124 Aidoneus 44 Air X, xiii, 31, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 51, 68 , 92, 102, 107, 108, 111, 113, 122, 136, 137 Akragas 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 15, 17, 19, 21,62 Alcibiades 125 Alcmeon 79,81,83, 98 Alexander the Great 22 Alexander the Knowledgeable 3 Alexandria, Alexandrine 3, 4, 5 , 6 , 51f. Alice Through T he Looking Glass (Lewis Carroll) vi, vii Amity xii, xiii, 48, 49, 50, 52, 55, 56, 59, 60, 62, 63, 65, 66 , 68 , 69, 71, 72, 77, 82, 86, 100, 102, 103, 119, 124, 133, 135, 137, 138 AML, see Meteorologia (Aristotle) Am ong School Children (W. B Yeats) ix AMP, see Metaphysica (Aristotle) Anaxagoras 1,6,16, 34,70,106,109 Anaximander 14, 23, 24, 25, 41, 42

Anaximines 24,41,42 Anchites 21 Animals/Beasts 48, 56, 58, 60, 61, 63, 75, 79, 83, 95, 96, 98, 101, 127, 140^ 142 AP, see Poetica ·(Aristotle) APA, see D e Partibus Animalium (Aristotle) Aphrodite 48, 55, 59, 60, 67, 68, 70, 77, 86, 100, 104 Apollo 14 Apollodorus 25 AR, see Rhetorica (Aristotle) Archinomos 9, 10 Ares 59,118,120,129 Arete 61 Aristophanes 141 Aristotle, Aristotelian ix, xvii, 2, 4, 6, 8, 12,14, 16, 25, 26, 27, 28, 30, 31, 40, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 50, 69, 70, 75, 76, 78, 87, 90, 91, 94, 96, 97, 98, 99, 106, 109, 111, 112, 113, 115, 136, 139 Arnold, Matthew, Empedocles on Aetna vi, 1, 20 A rt of Grammar, The (Dionysius the Thracian) 5 Artemis 18, 35 Aryan 62 Asclepios, Asclepiad 21 ASE, see Sophistici Elenchi (Aris­ totle) Asia Minor 22, 25, 31, 32, 35, 120 Assyria, Assyrian 23,106 Astronomy, Astronomical 40, 42, 58, 106, 115


Index Athena 61 Athens, Athenian 4, 8 , 20, 21, 22, 23, 24,26,109 Attic, Attica 6,17,18 Babylonia, Babylon 10, 39, J7, 65, 106, 107,130 Banquets 10,13,15,16,18 Baudelaire xiii BE, see Empedocle (E. Bignone) Beasts, see Animals Bignone, Ettore xvii, 1, 116, 117, 118,

147 Corpus Medicorum Graecorum xvii, 51 Corybantes 61 Cosmic Cycle, The 30, 31, 45, 49, 52, 53, 54, 57, 62, 64, 65, 66 , 89, 101, 102, 103, 104, 117, 119, 122, 127, 130, 135 Cosmology 33, 106, 107, 111, 113, 114, 115 Crates 35 Creatures vii, 46, 47, 49, 50, 52, 54, 58, 59, 60, 62, 65, 78, 79, 86 , 92, 97, 101, 104, 116, 122, 132, 141 Crete, Cretan 7, 8,61,62,126 Critias 23,125 Croton 35, 38 Crump, Marjorie xiii CW, see Stobaeus, loannis (C. Wachsmuth) Cynics 2,42 Cyprus 126 Cyrenaica 23 Danaids 64f Dante 120 Darwin, Charles (Darwinism) x, 62,

Biologist, Biology 20, 62, 92, 94, 96, 97, 98,101 Birds 48, 56, 83, 99, 100, 119, 121, 129, 131,140,144 Boussoulas, L. N . 56 Britain 61 Buddhism xv, 120,121,130 Bull 16, 30,60,63,99,120,122,125,131 Burnt N orton x, xi, xii Byzantine 5 Cadmus 23, 40 Carroll, Lewis vi Carthage, Carthaginian 7, 21,22 Chaldean Priests 106 Charmides 125 China 126 Christianity, Christian Thought xii, 3, 4 , 6 ,120 Circulation (of the blood) 92,98 Clemens of Alexandria, also see Doxographi Graeci 4,108 Cleomenes 13,138 Clepsydra (water-clock) 92,140 CMG, see Corpus Medicorum Grae­ corum Colchis 18 Collection of Physical Opinions (Aëtius) 3 Comte, Auguste 105 Conversion 14,63,118,135,142 Corinth 24

Da Vinci, Leonardo 120 DCV, see De Compositione Verbo­ rum (Dionysius the Thracian) De Abstinentia (Porphyry) 61 De Anima (Aristotle) xvii, 87, 97,

De Caelo (Aristotle) xvii, 2,70, 106 De Compositione Verborum (Diony­ sius the Thracian) xvii, 28 De facie in orbe lunae (Plutarch) xvii, 5,108,110,114 De F ortum Alexandri (Plutarch) xvii, 99 De Genit. (Hippocrates) 95 De Generatione et Corruptione (Aristotle) xvii, 2, 45, 70, 76,78,113 De Heraclides (O. Voss) xvii, 9, 10, 11,16,119 De Natura Animalium (Aelian) 90

xiv Effluvia 38. 65. 2. B. 90 Diels. 81. The (W. 116. 121. 58. 102. viii. 100.117. 54. 39. 130. 25. xiii.77. 43 . 22. 92. 68. Thom­ son) 125 Earth x.131 Dike 32. Crump) xii Er. 67f. 86. 95.140.78. 32. 136.103. xiii.74. 45 46.41. 39. 31. xi. 102. 48. xiv. Egyptian 5. Elea 10. 42. ed. 111. 42. 109. 108. 9. 137.117.148 De Partibus Animalium (Aristotle) xvii.’ 91’ 92.’ 56 57. 43. xvii. 107. 77’ 79. 45.75. 66 . T he (G. 34.44. see History of Philosophers (Di­ ogenes Laertius) Doric.133. 136. 120 Empedocle. 136. 44. 75.136 De Respiratione (Aristotle) xvii. 90.73. 24. 123. 80. 100. 42. 14. 137 East Coker x. 102. 101. 96 DK. 45. 58.98 De Sensu (Aristotle/Theophrastus) xvii.81 DOX. 78. 71. 103. 45. l l l / m j 114.112 Dry Salvages x Early Philosophers. xv Emotion of Multitude. xii. 23. 35. T .137 Enneads 4 Epaminondas 36 Ephesus 31. 59.45. S.28. 108. Bignone) xvii. 59. 51. 59. 47.110.112 Death o f Empedocles. 39.8. 114. 47. see Die Fragmente der Vorso­ kratiker (Diels-Kranz) DL. ed. 58 ’ ’ Elements 31. 5. 23.78. 51. 43. xiii. 59. Dorian 8. 47. 10. 42. 33. Miller Finnegan's W ake vii Fire x. see Doxographi Graeci (Diels) Doxographi Graeci (Diels) xvii.78. 111.82 Egypt. 62 Dostoevsky xiii Double Truth vi.26. 70. 38. H. 112. 122. 114. Jacobs FHG. 52. vii. see Fragmente der Griechis­ chen Historiker. 116. 138. 46. 83. 41. T he (Hölder­ lin) 13. ou Fage de la haine (Ro­ main Rolland) 20 Empedocles on Aetna (Matthew Ar­ nold) 20 Empiricus. 106 Index Eleatic School.136. the Armenian 124 Eteocretans 61 Etruscans 126 Euclid vi Euphorbus 119 Eustathius 107 Exainetos 10 Explanation (Suidas) 25 Eye 76. 144 Favorinus 4. Î. 50. 87. 35. xiii. 113. 55. 92. 64f. 82. 139. 68 . 142. 49. 40. 101.50. 2. 34. 128. 123. 58. 104. 122. 51. xii. 77. 70. 33. 47. vi. T he (M. 80. 31. 129. 89. 97 De Pietate (Theophrastus) 61 De Placitis Philosophorum (Aëtius) 47 De Poetis (Aristotle) xvii. 108. 140 . 69. see Fragmenta Historicum Graecum. 50. C.20 Demeter 101 Democritus. 44. 79. 76.42 Epicureans 2 Epyllion xiii Epyllion From Theocritus to Ovid. Sextus 3.145 Dionysius the younger 33 Dionysus (the God) 34. 73. Yeats) xiii Empedocle (E. 117. Eliot. 31. 113. 32. 2. I3ij 132. 62. 26 27 30. 32. and see Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker 21. 9 FGH. 34 Dionysian Mysteries 106 Dionysius of Syracuse 22 Dionysius the Thracian 5.

112: 14. 69. 122. 34. 82 : 51. 52. 38 : 80 31 Bfr. 128. 27 : 29.63 31 Bfr.140 31 Bfr. 95 : 101 31 Bfr. 133 Four Quartets viii.102. 15 : 27. 99. 3 : 81. 48: 112 31 Bfr. 119. 58 31 Bfr. 109: 27. 87.109 149 31 B f r . 44. 45. 40.144 31 B : Empedocles 31 B fr.99 31 B fr. 100. 88. 38: 111 31 Bfr.70. 133 31 Bfr. 47 : 109 31 Bfr.83 31 B fr. 114: 89. 58:141 31 B fr. 77. 69. 48. 42. x. 39: 28 31 Bfr. 88. 47. 139. 90. 45. 60 : 49 31 Bfr. 121.63. 98: 90. 59. 54. 35 : 50. 116 31 B: fr. 71 : 60. 103. 44: 111 31 B fr . 17 : 29. 138. 139 31 Bfr. 68 . 105:79 31 Bfr. 103 : 86 31 Bfr. 60. 58. 116. 55. 64: 100 31 B f r . 56. 41 : 111 31 Bfr.67.102 31 Bfr. 89: 91 31 Bfr. 67. 47.137 31 Bfr. 2 : 20. 28: 29. 73.19.132. 109. 113 : 128. 14: 27. 101. 53 : 102 31 Bfr. 51. 75.141 31 Bfr. 83. 117 : 119.45 : 108. 16:67. 123.64. 130. 129. 9: 55. 55. 77. 87 31 Bfr.53. 143. 103. 56. 1 1 0 : 85. 132. 111:19. 107. 24: 83 31 Bfr.104. 86 : 77 31 B fr. 143 31 Bfr. 83 : 99 31 B fr. 50. 21 : 34. 33.129. 30.144 31 Bfr.102 31 Bfr. 56. 79. 134. 54. 85. 42 : 109 31 Bfr. 74. 28. 120.46.84. 57:49. 73 : 60. 70. 52. 29 : 30. 81. 74. 81. 51. 100 : 93.48. 57.102. 32: 100 31 Bfr. 99: 78 31 B fr. 48.142 31 Bfr.102 31 Bfr. 79: 100 31 Bfr. 56. 76. 115: 20. 54. 89. 52: 112 31 B f r . 86 31 Bfr. 90: 80 31 B f r . 133. 108 : 87 31 Bfr. 45. 104. 67. 142. 86. 50 : 112 31 Bfr. 143 31 Bfr. 122. xiv Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker: Diels xvii. 56.Index Fish 48. 56 : 113 31 Bfr. 6 : 58. 12 : 27 31 Bfr. 116 31 Bfr. 54: 113 31 Bfr. 90.140 31 B fr. 137. 140 31 Bfr. 47. 94.131 Forces 44. 137 31 B fr.139 31 Bfr.69. 84. 119: 128 . 40: 107. 91. 112.53. 143 31 Bfr. 87. 80.104 31 B fr. 116 : 52. 99. 128. 52. 87 : 77 31 Bfr.127 31 Bfr. 119. 18. 80 31 Bfr. 125. 118 : 63. 52. 129. 90 31 Bfr.137 31 Bfr. 92 : 50 31 B f r . 113. 50. 23 : 48. 83.88 31 B fr. 62 : 100 31 Bfr. 20. 139. 14. 100 31 Bfr. 88:77 31 Bfr. 49. 69. 51. 53.17.73. xi.' 89. 84 : 76. 31. 140 31 Bfr. 19 : 137 31 B fr. 111. 121. 61 : 49 31 Bfr. 140.88. 127. 29. 101 : 75 31 Bfr. 26: 51. xii. 85 : 77 31 Bfr. 52. 53. 4 : 89 31 Bfr.

41. vii. 23. The (Democri­ tus) 24 Greater Greece 22. 129: 38. mon frere (Baudelaire) xiii Iamblichus 4 Immobile.13. Hippocratean 18. 103. 130: 127 31 Bfr.121.23. 71. 61. 119. 10. 16 Fragmente der Griechischen Histor­ iker (ed. 139. 142 31 Bfr.128. 84. 70. 84. 45. 133.119 History of the Philosophers (Por­ phyry) 4 Hölderlin 1. Immortal 4.20 Homer. Hippocratic. 140. Sigmund ix Galen 51. 40 Freud. 30. 132. 123 : 64 31 B fr. 10. 15. also see Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker xii. 31 Bfr. 133. 57.41.62 Goethe 7 Gerontion xiv Gladisch 125 Golden Sayings of Pythagoras (Hier­ ocles) 3 Gorgias. 132 : 134 31 Bfr. 98 Ganymede 18 Gela 7. 31. 144 India.117 31 Bfr.41 Hesiod 30. 35. 11.95. Ionia 6 . 2. 40.13. 106 Hierocles 3 Hippobotus 70 Hippocrates. 57. 56. 10. 42 Hedgehog 99.24 Iphigenia 18 . 39. Jacoby) xvii.43. 44. 128: 60. 137 : 64. 141 : 132 31 B fr.-1 150 31 B fr. 42.14. 5. 33. 6 . 131 Infinite 28. Ionian.71. 9. 34. 144 31 Bfr. 140: 132 31 Bfr. 31 B fr. 140 Humpty Dumpty vi. 130. 131 : 84. 8. 53. 133: 133 31 Bfr. 135 Immortality. C.51.67. of Metapontium 42 History of A ll Sorts (Favorinus) 4 History of Philosophers (Diogenes Laertius) xvii. Indian 23.15. 31.21. §q HE.121. 146 : 17. 36. 54. 130.63.134 31 Bfr. 121 : 64.17.142 31 B fr. 138 31 Bfr. 134: 116.70. Hate 48. 25. of Leontini 24. Harmonius 33. 26. 65.119 Gylippus 8 Gynaecology (Seranos) 95 Hades 34 Hamlet x Harmony.40. 35. see Herodotus Hecataeus 23. 2. 35. 59. 50. 23. 127. 37. 11. viii.149 31 Bfr. 9. 67. 57.134.126. 133 Fragmenta Historicum Graecum (ed. 120 : 127. Index 64. 47.118 Ionic.63. 28. Miller) xvii.124 Great W orld Order. 12. 52. 138. xiv Hypocrite lecteur mon semblable. 132.9. Heraklides 9. 136. 97. 38. 30. 10. 31.11. 34. 147: 121. 11. 42. 48. 103 Hegel. 141 Hatred. 50.130 31 Bfr.90. 32 33. 50. 71. 33. 5. 132 31 B fr. 14. 44. 136:63. 125. 122. Immobility 26.23. Hegelian 32 Hera 44 Heraclides.23. 136 Hermotimus 119 Herodotus xvii.90. 42. 137. 41.19. 13. 120.108. 12.69. 139 : 123. 30. 145 : 129.51 Hipponicus. 28. 124: 128.125 31 B fr.62. 16 119 Heraclitus. Homeric viii. 82. 24. 104. 66. 131. 98 Hippolytus 44.25. 122 : 64 31 Bfr. 16.

126 Minos 124 Mixture 1. 86.Index Isis 5 Italy.133.64. 108. 17. 9.120. 62. 89. 14.141 Lydia. 52. 133 Laertes 2 Laertius. 48.119 Lampsacus 16 Lantern 76.66 Neikos 48 Neilos 23 Neoplatonists 3. 51.104. 99. 59. 57. 88 Love vi.137 Nestle 126 Netherworld 19.18. 127 Olympia. Olympiad 7. 21 . 104. 91. xiv Logos xii. 34. 42 Meteorologica (Aristotle) xvii. 59. 32 Knowledge 74.10. Diogenes 2. 137 Leontini 24. 9. 80. 14. Milesian 10. 83. King x Leningrad 126 Leonard. 67f. 52. 23. 110.127 Morphology 98. 103.143 Kolophon 28. 42.127. 66 . 35 Joyce. 120.100. 113 Meteorologica (Theophrastus) 2 Meton 9 Miletus.50. 55.61 Nestis 44. 39.102 Movement 25. W . 49. 36. xi. 48. 15. 91. 24.23. 63.108 Minoanöl. 2 .45.63. 108 Mycenean 126 Nauck.97 Memorabilia (Favörinus) 9 Menelaus 119 151 Messina 16 Metapontium 36. Monstrous Creatures. 61. Marshall vi Megara 17. 123. 88.129. 68. 116. 57. Italian 10. 64.70. 4.121.14. 54. 44. 30. Mon­ strosities vii.65. 36 Nausicaa 61 Neanthes 5. see Porphyrii Philosophi Platon­ ici (Nauck) Odysseus 2. x.26 Little Gdiding x. 23. 28.20. 56. 64f. 52.87. viii Kallikles 124 Karma 120 Kea24 King 12. 67. Sir Isaac ix Nietzsche 20 Nirvana 120.43 Melissos 22 Metaphysica (Aristotle) xvii. Monist 26.130 Notes from Underground (Dostoev­ sky) xiii Novalis 120 NP. 56. 90. 42. 40. 49. 81. 24. Walther xvii. 107. A. 85. 31. 39. 117. 22. 25.10. 13. 137 Mother Goddess 61. 131 Kronos 60.44. E. 82. 15.61 Odyssey (Homer) 2. James vii.130 Lear. 17. 36 Necessity 46.124 Newton.13. 87. 27. J. . 108.16. 128. 42. 113. 38. 42 Kranz. 30. 69.62. 46. 51. 33. 71. 60. 139 Monism. 32. 41. 42.113 Moon 5. 80.101. 109. 123.42 Monsters. Lydian 40 Lysis 36 Manethos 42 Mars 59 McLuhan.94. 70.129 Kylon 36 Kypris 48. 103.

34 Parallel Lives of Greek and Roman Statesmen and Generals (Plutarch) 5 Parmenides (and see Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker) 6 . 141. 140. 79. 136.22 Pericles 12. 74. 118 Philoponos (John) 3.41. 60. 57. 20. 23. 111. 139.145 POL see de facie in orbe lunae (Plut­ arch) Polycrates 35 Porphyrii Philosophi Platonici (A. 116. 36. 120. 130. 67. 133. Mount. 58. 33. 144 O n Famous Men (Neanthes) 5 On Famous Men (Satyros) 5 On T he M aking of The W orld (Hi­ erocles) 3 On Nature (Empedocles) 5. 14. 37. 97. 132. 18. 109 Persia. 37. 46. 36. 143.64. 109. O n The Pythian Oracle (Plutarch) 5 On T he Qualities O f Animate Beings (Aelianos) 3 On The Starting Points W hich Lead Us T o The Intelligible (Porphyry) 4 On W hat Philosophers Like (Aëtius) 3 Orphic Mysteries 106.109 Index Persephone 21 Pericles (Plutarch) xvii. 28. 85. 127. 96. 38. 89. arch) Phaeacians 61 Phaedo (Plato) 97 Phaedrus 123 Pherekydes 43. 24. 121. 35. 127. 98. 29.152 21. 138. 56. The (Ed­ ward Zeller. 23.106. 94. 16. 70.110.79. 103. 94 Pausanias 11. 87 Philosophy of the Greeks. 33. 59. 84.26. 25. 28.30. 37.119. 83. 40 120 ’ ’ PF see De Fortuna Alexandri (Plut. Edgar Allan ix Poetica (Aristotle) xvii.120 Pound. 52. 109 Passages 73. Platonic 4. 131. 133. 19. Nestle) 125 Phoenicia. 133 Peisianax 16 Peleponnese 14 Peleponnesian War 20. 95 Proclus 3. 82. 137. 13. 44. 25. xiv PP see Pericles (Plutarch) PQC see Quaestiones Conviviales (Plutarch) Pregnancy 74. 85.61 Poseidon 59.144. 21.140. 62. 24 .136 Poetry/Poet/Poetic 1. 35. loo’ 123. 60. 73. 78.119 Philolaos 9. 70. 2.70. 144. Paradoxical xii. 34. 141 Pantheia 13 Paradox. 47. 125. 27. 19. 6 . 11. 23. 123. 4 Prodicos of Kea 24 Prometheus 100 Protagoras (Plato) 23 Protagoras. Persians 22. Phoenician 4.138. 93. 27. 89.145 Plato. 124. 53. 27. 54. 142. 134. 80.114 Poe. 108. 43. 104. 38. 25. Ezra viii.130 Osiris 5 Ovid xiii Painters 48. 31. 141 Plotinus 4 Plutarch 5. 21. 5If.143 Olympus. 135. ed. Olympian Gods 18. 134. 10. 45.142. 145 On Osiris and Isis (Plutarch) 5 OnPoets (Aristotle) 136 On Providence (Proclus) 4 On Providence (Synesius) 4 . 36. 118. 30. 64. 128. 5. 9.143.40 Pindar 136. 82. 11. 82.126. 26. the Sophist of Abdera 13. Nauck) 36 Porphyry 4. 88.13. 28. 99. 59. 20. 32. 131.

114 Sex/Sexual Organ 30.66. 54. 54. 25.65. 21. 108 A Reader's Guide to T . 119. xi. Bloody Sacrifice 15. 132. 71. xi. Williamson) xv Renaissance 24 Respiration (through the skin) 92. x. 109. 58.22. 123. 37. 46. 142 Samos 22 .142 Sparta. 84. 58. 20. 27. 113. 101. 120. 35 Satyros 5.115. 128. 144 Spinoza 117. 18.26. 130. 44. 127 Socrates. 126. 114. 87 Sin 14. 21. 120.43. 37. 14. 138. 26 Rhetorica xvii. 19. 122. xiv. Socratic 3. 141 Stromateis 4 Suidas 25 Sun 29. 142.126 Sea 29. 138.96.122 I Selinus 8. 34. 100. 116. 66. 104.144. 129. 59. 81. 79. 107. loannis (C. 42. 22. 89.In dex Ptolemy VI S Purifications 5. 52. 142 Sitzungsberichte Der Berliner Akade­ mie Der Wissenschaften (Wilamowitz) xvii. 79. 80. 19.97. 28 Rhodes 5. 2. 36. 123. xii. 59.13 Scheria 127 Schopenhauer 120 Scythia. also see Doxographi Gra­ eci 4. 47. 103. 61. 89. 143 Quadrivium 3 Quaestiones Conviviales (Plutarch) xvii. 66 . 74. 53. Rome 5. 85. 42. 5. 78. 127.90. 116. 8. 121. 134. xiii Sicily. 109. 102. 15. 84.67.26. 59. 17. 108. 120. S.4 Stration 10 Strife vi. 31.124. . Sicilian 7. 119. 15. 109.96 Quaestiones Naturales (Plutarch) 5 Quaestiones Romanae (Plutarch) xvii.85. 49. 60.53. 48. 21. 61. 119. 8. 131. 63.83. 118. 54. 131. 125. 122. 70. 101. 72. 55. 38.145 Pythagoras. 98. 22. 83.130 Stephanos the Byzantine 5 Stobaeus. 49. 122. 117.10. 117. xv.43.143. xiii. 111. 97. 29. 135. 23. 121. Spartan 22. Wachsmuth) xvii. 44. 63. William ix. Romain 1. 117. 137 Symposium (Plato) 100. 12. 98 Resurrection 12. 115.65. 50. 130. 38. 46. 125.99. 112. 31. 52. 43.4. 70. 70 Stoics 2. 100. 106. 30. 51f 153 82. 56.100 Sensation 71. 122.19. Syracusan 16. 69. 107.119 Sphairos vi. 62.14.62 Rolland. 63. 23. 2 . 133. Scythian 23.7. 73. 121.142. 80. 97.125 Solon 23 Sophistici Elenchi (Aristotle) xvii.62 Simplicius.20 Roman.11 Semen 40. 9.12. 76.91. 41. 20. 118.98. 52. 102.137. 67.24. 121. 72. 35. 23. 113. Synesius 4 Syracuse. 30.126 Sikeliot 8 Sikels 61. 90. 9. 37 i Sacrifice.25 Sophists 13. 57. 133. 58. 139. 131.7. 64. 131. 53. 68 . Pythagorean 3. 34 Revue De Métaphysique et de Morale 56 Rhadamanthus 125 Rhetoric 25.124 Soranos 95 Sosicles 5 lf Soul 23. 16. 122. 64. 41.116 Shakespeare. Sacrificial Animal. 104.112. 124. 11. 103. 16. Eliot (G.

9.13. 60.69.65. also see Doxographi Qraeci 6. S. 57. 119 Waste Land. 96. 61. 144 Time 27. 40. The 8. Luis d’Antin vii Varied History 3 VH. see Sitzungsberichte Der Berlin­ er Akademie Der Wissenschaften (Wilamowitz) Xenophanes. 99. 29. 127. 117. 120. 36.127 Williamson. 50. 9. index 54. Eliot) viii Transmigration of souls 15. also see Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker 25. 125 Thousand.126 Zeno 25.59. 40. The viii.154 Tartarus 124 Telauges 9. x Water x. 10. 61.26 Thurii 13. 53. 42. 31. 94. 91.77. 51. 63. 98. 128.15 Thrace 5.107. 90.68. 100. 42. O. xvii. 57. 34. 138. 41.10. Paul ix Van Rooten. viii. 118. 36. 97. 123. xiii Zeller.136 Welsh 61 Whole. 106.74.11. 110. 37.32.137 . 30. 92. 98. George xv Wind 11.109 Thebes. 16. 31.12. 108^ 111. 44.118 Thaies 23.79.107 Theseus 18 Thessaly 26 Thetis 101 Thomson. B. Edward 125.21 Thucydides 8. 68 .117 Wilamowitz xvii. 100. 38. 32.142 Trees/Bushes 48. 23 Tradition and the Individual Talent (T.41. Theban 23.108. 56. WS.97 Themistocles 23 Theocritus xiii Theogony (Hesiod) 106 Theophrastus. 131. ix.130 Yeats.41. 106. see De Heraclides (O. 90. 140. Voss) Voss. 103. 129.129. 34 Zeus 18.76. 83.42.133 135 Valery. 84.19. 45. xiii. W . 57. 77. The 27.46. 38.24. 96. 34 Timaeus 4.78. 31. 43. 30. 93.40. G.85 Triptolemos 101 Trojans 119 Tyre 4 Universe 28.112. 5it 59. 121. 117 Xenophon 75 Xerxes 8 Year’s Length 40. 11. 102.

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